Sarah Rossi

Imperatives are traditionally assumed to raise to CP, mainly to check imperative force and to account for enclisis. They are also thought to lack intermediate IP projections due to their impoverished morphology. In this light, the following acquisition patterns are unexpected: i. imperatives are among the very first verbal forms children acquire, while the CP layer becomes available only in later stages; ii. imperatives appear at high frequency in child spontaneous production as parallel of a truncated structure, the root infinitive; iii. non-canonically grown structures in which some left-peripheral positions are active but intermediate IP layers are missing, such as Reduced Relative Clauses, are dispreferred by children and acquired only around the 6th year of age. This work aims to reconcile the tension between current assumptions on the structural analysis of the imperative and acquisition data, with a focus on Italian and Romance. I propose that Italian/Romance imperatives with distinctive morphology are radically reduced structures and do not raise to CP. Rather, they remain in the low IP area of the clause. Core morphosyntactic properties of imperatives are captured under this analysis.

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Rossi, Sarah (IUSS Pavia)