Imperatives and Other Directive Expressions in Latin. A Study in the Pragmatics of a Dead Language.
Gieben, Amsterdam, 1993. XII,354p. Theses. Original red gilt titled cloth. Blind tooling ex libris stamp J.J.L. Smolenaars with handwritten year of achievement on free endpaper. Diss. Universiteit van Amsterdam. Series: Amsterdam Studies in Classical Philology, 2. Nice copy. “It is rare that a doctoral thesis will have such a wide appeal as Risselada’s study of Latin directive expressions. As the subtitle states, the work is a study in the pragmatics of Latin, a language with no native speakers to provide the linguistic intuitions the linguist typically relies upon. Pragmatics has both a philosophical and al linguistic face; it is based on a concept of the 'speech act', defines as that which a speaker accomplishes or intends to accomplish by means of an utterance. Directives, as speech acts, encompass simple comands and orders, polite or impolite requests, pleas, suggestions, hints, advice, persuasion and dissuasion, proposals, etc., all of which are intended to get the addressee to do or not to do something. The Latin language has many syntactic and lexical resources available to the speaker in order to communicate these various directives, e.g. imperatives (…), verbs like 'orare', 'iubere', 'velle', 'postulare'; subjunctive mood expressions; future indicatives; gerundives; and so forth. When we consider that the native speaker can generate an infinite number of well-formed sentences, it becomes clear that the author’s attempt to integrate the pragmatic speech act approach and the traditional grammatical categories is indeed a formidable one. Risselada has succeeded so admirably that the work deserves to become a model for other similar pragmatic investigations (…). Risselada chooses examples primarily from Roman comedy, surely the closest approximation to spontaneous conversation we possess, and the correspondence of Cicero and Pliny; manuals on such topics as cooking and agriculture, as well as the legal corpus, also provide interesting directives. The analysis is clear and intuitive. Careful study of the many examples will give the reader new insights into the nuances of informal and conversational Latin.” (DAVID H. KELLY in The Classical Outlook, 1997, 4, pp.161-161).