This article argues that the Macedonian narrative imperative, i.e., the use of the 2nd singular imperative in place of a narrative past tense or historical present in any person, to describe gnomic, habitual, or iterative, past acts, is a Balkanism. It is shared with Albanian, Romani, and Turkish. In Bulgarian and Romanian, such usage is now archaic or dialectal. In former Serbo-Croatian, it was treated as more characteristic of the south than the north. In Aromanian and Meglenoromanian, it is limited to those dialects with strong contact with Albanian or Macedonian. It is absent from Greek and dialects of Aromanian (but not Macedonian) spoken in Greece. Unlike the East Slavic narrative imperative, which is only used with perfective verbs for sudden past actions, the South Slavic narrative imperative can be used with both aspects. In West Slavic narrative imperatives are rare to non-existent. It is suggested that while such usage can be explained typologically, the specificities of its distribution point to the types of historical feature selection characteristic of the Balkan Sprachbund. This feature has not been viewed in its Balkan context until now.


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