You are here: Home Publications Imperative directives: Orientations to accountability

Imperative directives: Orientations to accountability

Kent, A., & Kendrick, K. H. (2016). Imperative directives: Orientations to accountability. Research on Language and Social Interaction, 49(3), 272-288. doi:10.1080/08351813.2016.1201737.
Our analysis proceeds from the question that if grammar alone is insuffi- cient to identify the action of an imperative (e.g., offering, directing, warn- ing, begging, etc.), how can interlocutors come to recognize the specific action being performed by a given imperative? We argue that imperative directives that occur after the directed action could have first been rele- vantly performed explicitly to direct the actions of the recipient and tacitly treat the absence of the action as a failure for which the recipient is accountable. The tacit nature of the accountability orientation enables both parties to focus on restoring progressivity to the directed course of action rather than topicalizing a transgression. Data are from everyday interactions in British and American English.
About MPI

This is the MPI

The Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics is an institute of the German Max Planck Society. Our mission is to undertake basic research into the psychological,social and biological foundations of language. The goal is to understand how our minds and brains process language, how language interacts with other aspects of mind, and how we can learn languages of quite different types.

The institute is situated on the campus of the Radboud University. We participate in the Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behaviour, and have particularly close ties to that institute's Centre for Cognitive Neuroimaging. We also participate in the Centre for Language Studies. A joint graduate school, the IMPRS in Language Sciences, links the Donders Institute, the CLS and the MPI.


Street address
Wundtlaan 1
6525 XD Nijmegen
The Netherlands

Mailing address
P.O. Box 310
6500 AH Nijmegen
The Netherlands

Phone:   +31-24-3521911
Fax:        +31-24-3521213

Public Outreach Officer
Charlotte Horn