Imperative clauses in the Ìyàgbà dialect of Yorùbá

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Sunday Adéjùbẹ́e, ̣́
Oyè Táíwò


Imperative clauses express commands, orders, instructions or directives. Extant studies recognise imperative clauses as sub-units of sentences on the basis of function-based criterion with little attention paid to the details about the structure, derivation and clause-mood indicating mechanism of the discourses. This present study therefore, provides a theoretically-based description of the structure, derivation and the exertion of illocutionary force of imperative clause. The theoretical orientation adopted is the Minimalist Program and Rizzi’s split CP-hypothesis. The ethnographic design was used. The database comprises a structured interview guided by the Ibadan Syntactic Paradigm and the Ibadan 400 wordlist. The investigation purposively selected and interviewed five competent native speakers whose ages range between 40 and 70 from the Ìsánlú variety of Ìyàgbà. The collected data were subjected to interlinear glossing, qualitative and syntactic analyses. It is observed that the imperative clauses of Ìyàgbà can be classified into direct and indirect imperative clauses. The markers of both imperative clauses are covert. The purported markers (i.e. je  /̣́kí ‘let’) of indirect imperative sentences are re-analysed as politeness markers that license their Determiner Phrases for politeness. The two types of imperative clauses can therefore be differentiated by [+ Politeness] and [-Politeness] for indirect and direct imperative clauses respectively. The negators employed in imperative utterances are mo ̣́ and ra ‘do not’. The hierarchical order of clausal structure that appropriately captures imperative discourses of Ìyàgbà is proposed as: ImpP>(PolP)>(NegP)>TP>vP>VP


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How to Cite
Adéjùbẹ́e, ̣́ S. ., & Táíwò O. . (2020). Imperative clauses in the Ìyàgbà dialect of Yorùbá. Journal of The Linguistic Association of Nigeria, 23(2), 1–14. Retrieved from
Author Biographies

Sunday Adéjùbẹ́e, ̣́, Yorùbá Department, Adéyẹmí College of Education, Oǹdó




Oyè Táíwò, University of Ìbàdàn, Ìbàdàn.





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