At 10:35 am -0400 26/4/99, John Cowan wrote: >Scripsit Thorinn: > >> Formally, that's a second-person imperative. The verb 'let' in this >> use may have been bleached to give a meaning similar to a third-person >> subjunctive, but that is still a matter of lexicon, not of syntax. > >I think the matter is arguable: when does such a bleaching leave >the particle entirely grammaticalized? My current Sprachgefuehl >is that all sense of "let" = "permit" is gone from this construction. Yes, I think it has. Unfortunately, however, 'let' can still be used with the meaning of 'permit' and there must, I suspect, still be the odd occasion when, e.g. a translator into French must decide whether "let us go!" is 'Laissez-nous partir!' or simply 'Partons!' If we have, say, hostages or prisoners speaking to their captives, then the former meaning is clearly intended. But someone speaking to a group of friends who have decided to move off somewhere is not asking someone or some few among his friends to let him & maybe a few others go but is rather suggesting to them _all_ that that they all go: 'Partons!', 'abeamus' etc. Greek went through a similar development. The old 3rd person imperatives have now gone; the meaning is expressed in the modern language by 'as' followed by a subjunctive. This 'as' is a very bleached or watered down form of earlier 'aphes' -> 'afes' imperative of the irrgular verb 'aphie:mi' (I allow, permit). But, of course, Greek has gone one stage further than English in that 'as' can no longer be regarded even formally as an imperative. Ray.