Imperatives and Negation in Romance Languages: Verbalisation, De-verbalisation and Marking
The topic of this paper is the expression of negative directives in several Romance languages. The majority of Romance languages do not express negative directives by adding (pre-verbal) negation to the positive imperative form, but by using a different verb form (infinitive, subjunctive or something else), to which negation is attached. The present analysis shows that (some) directive verbal forms in Romance lost some hallmarks of their verbhood. The phenomenon is taken as witnessing different stages of de-verbalisation. De-verbalisation makes directive verb forms similar to interjections. The variation documented in the Romance imperatives with respect to the compatibility/incompatibility with negation may thus seen as tendencies of different degrees of the imperatives to come closer either to the verb, or to the interjection. In the context of these tendencies, the incompatibility between negation and imperatives may be explained through the concept of marking. Put briefly, imperatives require to be marked by negation but negation is or is not able to mark them.