Insubordinated concessive imperatives

An areal constructional idiom type


The article deals with a constructional idiom attested in both Baltic languages as well as in the neighbouring Slavonic and Fennic languages and in Yiddish, containing as its central component what is argued to be an insubordinated imperatival concessive clause and characterising a situation by hyperbolically describing the consequences conceivably flowing from it or a course of action it could be imagined to induce. This construction, which is clearly an areal feature, has a stable constructional meaning but its formal shape is extraordinarily fluid and differentiated. It also displays a considerable degree of cross-linguistic variation partly resulting from separate developments and partly from interaction with other constructional idioms as well as with other languages. The article deals with the structure and origin of the construction and gives an overview of its variation across languages.


Lithuanian; Latvian; Russian; Belarussian; Ukrainian; Estonian; Yiddish; concessives; insubordination; scalar particles; constructional idiom

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Published : 2019-12-31

Holvoet, A., Daugavet, A., & Lindström, L. (2019). Insubordinated concessive imperatives. Baltic Linguistics, 10, 307-354.

Axel Holvoet 
Vilnius University, Institute for the Languages and Cultures of the Baltic, Universiteto g. 5, LT-01131 Vilnius  Lithuania
Anna Daugavet 
St Petersburg University, Department of General Linguistics, Universitetskaya nab. 11, RU-199034, St Petersburg & Vilnius university, Institute for the Languages and Cultures of the Baltic, Universiteto g. 5, LT-01131 Vilnius  Russian Federation
Liina Lindström 
University of Tartu, Institute of Estonian and General Linguistics, Ülikooli 18, EE-50090 Tartu & Vilnius University, Institute for the Languages and Cultures of the Baltic, Universiteto g. 5, LT-01131 Vilnius  Estonia