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So be it: a study of third person imperatives in Sophocles and Aristophanes

Grant number: 22/10790-8
Support Opportunities:Scholarships in Brazil - Master
Effective date (Start): December 01, 2022
Effective date (End): November 30, 2024
Field of knowledge:Linguistics, Literature and Arts - Literature - Classical Languages
Principal Investigator:José Marcos Mariani de Macedo
Grantee:Johnny Dotta
Host Institution: Faculdade de Filosofia, Letras e Ciências Humanas (FFLCH). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). São Paulo , SP, Brazil


This project aims to investigate the third person imperatives with modal deontic meaning in Sophocles and Aristophanes. Based on the classification proposed by Denizot (2011: 154-63), all of the occurrences of third person imperatives in these two ancient authors were analysed, in order to identify them as one of the three presented categories: an order to a third party, an order to the addressee, or a deontic imperative. Once they were classified, we established a corpus of 111 occurrences of imperatives with modal deontic meaning, i.e., imperatives with an addressee that is either undefined, abstract or inexistent, or imperatives that are equivalent to a declarative clause with a modal verb. This corpus was chosen because this usage highlights the peculiarities of third person imperatives when compared to second person ones. Grammars and syntax manuals agree that third person imperatives are a newer formation, and so must be further analysed. We will utilize pragmatic criteria, and so chose two drama authors to constitute the corpus, one from tragedy and one from comedy, in order to contrast them. We expect to achieve a more detailed description of the contexts that favor this modal usage, which can conceal a directive speech act. In this case, we will also analyse the factors involved in such a type of command - for example, politeness or argumentation tactics, as argues Denizot (2011: 409). Finally, some of the occurrences in our corpus will also be compared with optatives.

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