Article published in:Linguistics in the Netherlands 2016
Edited by Jenny Audring and Sander Lestrade
[Linguistics in the Netherlands 33] 2016
► pp. 41–53
Imperatives and politeness in Dutch
Imperatives are usually thought of as direct and therefore impolite. However, imperatives such as Have some coffee, Enjoy your holiday, or Sleep well are not considered impolite. The reason seems to be that these imperatives refer to actions that are beneficial to the hearer only. We make a distinction between two types of imperatives, those referring to actions that are beneficial to the speaker and those that are beneficial to the hearer. We have conducted an experiment in order to examine the relation between the two types of imperatives and how they are perceived by speakers of Dutch. The results show that there is indeed a significant difference in interpretation between the two types of imperatives in Dutch. In addition, we have tested the effects of adding a politeness marker alsjeblieft ‘please’ or discourse particles to the imperatives.
Keywords: imperative, politeness, requests, experiment, discourse particles
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Published online: 21 December 2016
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