Koike (1986) Differences and similarities in men’s and women’s directives in Carioca Brazilian Portuguese

citation: Koike, Dale A. 1986. “Differences and similarities in men’s and women’s directives in Carioca Brazilian Portuguese.” Hispania 69(2):387–394.

written by: Koike, Dale A.

title: Differences and similarities in men’s and women’s directives in Carioca Brazilian Portuguese

URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/341699

published in: 1986

appears in: Hispania [69(2)]

keyworded: imperative

imperatives in Brazilian Portuguese

language coverage: Portuguese, carioca


author = "Koike, Dale A.",
journal = "Hispania",
number = 2,
pages = "387--394",
title = "{Differences and similarities in men's and women's directives in Carioca Brazilian Portuguese}",
volume = 69,
year = 1986}


Concerned with establishing semantic nature of directives when directed upwards, across, or down the social hierarchy; and examining male/female distinctions (particularly with reference to Lakoff).
The first, and fundamental, problem is that the data is non-naturalistic, having been entirely elicited from role-play scenarios. A serious failure here is to recognise that the gender difference (if any) could lie in the accurateness or honesty with which the genders portray themselves in a role-play. That is, to fall back on clichés, the men may be inclined to present themselves as being direct with more superiors then they actually are, and so forth. This is, really, enough to kill the whole analysis for me.
Secondly — that it matters — the data seems to have been subjectively classed (into one of ‘orders/assertions’, ‘suggestions’, ‘requests’, ‘hints’, ‘avoidance’ or ‘no response’; and then plotted in a number of ways with no further anaylsis. A further sub-classification examines components of the directives, but again in a subjective manner.
What’s particularly horrendous is that it touches briefly upon something which is of interest to me — present indicative vs subjunctive imperative — and does little with it.
This is strongly of interest to me. The ‘formal’ form of a directive is the use of the imperative case, derived from the subjunctive. However, there is wide-spead use of the present indicative instead, e.g.:
vem comigo, ‘come with me’ (the imperative would be venha comigo)
vai embora, ‘go away’ (the imperative would be va embora)
What’s interesting here — to me, and that they completely fail to touch upon — is that the 3sg present indicative is identical to the 2sg imperative in the positive form. Thus the above statements could also be analysed as 2sg imperatives. However, the 2sg forms are, of course, almost totally unused in Carioca (and wider Brazilian) speech.
So a question which has always interested me is, to what extent this form is used and how extensively it is cognized as a 2sg imperative. Their data shows that what they class as the present indicative (i.e. the ‘non-standard’ is used almost 100% by both genders to a child, c. 65%(m) and 75%(f) to a peer, and c. 25%(m) and 0%(f) to a power figure. To me, and this is totally unmentioned by them, this would at least suggest that these forms retain the association with the T-address.
Problems with naturalistic imperative data collection aside, this is at least a possible factor I’d be interested in. They have only two variables: gender and social direction of utterance; and this obviously needs to be expanded.