I am an undergrad working with a papuan language. There is one sentence that was in the data that has me wondering about hortatives.

The sentence, in english, translates to “Okay, I’ll just leave.” Contextually, the speaker is talking to themselves, within a narrative. There is what I have figured out is a hortative grammatical marker on the verb, leave. So my question is, it is common for languages to incorporate hortative modalities when there is no listener present?

  • Would you consider someone trying to amp themselves up with phrases like “come on, let’s do this” to be hortative? If so, then I’d say it’s perfectly common, yes. If you accept the imperative–hortative distinction that the imperative is used when the addressee is in control of the desired state and the hortative otherwise, it’s not really clear to me whether hortatives are possible when you’re talking to yourself… Jan 25, 2022 at 9:30
  • Are you asking a question of pragmatics or syntax? In Latin, a first person singular subjunctive can be used as a "deliberative" form to express doubt as to the correct action. Could you elaborate about your precise hesitation? I think Mande languages also freely use hortatives, but I am not absolutely certain if they are common in the first person singular and in self narrative. Jan 29, 2022 at 10:15
  • An example limited to questions in Latin is “quid agam, iūdicēs? quō mē vertam ” (Verr. 5.2) , what am I to do, judges ? whither shall I turn? The verbs are in the "deliberative subjunctive," perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/… Jan 29, 2022 at 10:21


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