Minor Speech Acts in a Basque Mirative Construction


  • Asier Alcázar University of Missouri Columbia


This paper presents a Basque construction that expresses a series of minor speech acts. Although diverse (preventatives, optatives, challenges…), all interpretations seem to share lack of speaker control . This construction finds striking parallels in European Spanish and Catalan. The identifying morphology of the construction is proposed to be mirative. Mirativity, or the grammatical marking of surprising, unexpected events (DeLancey 1997, 2001), is associated with lack of speaker control (Aikhenvald 2004, 2012). This paper proposes that minor speech acts are syntactic objects in Universal Grammar and that they may be reducible to a mirative construction.