Date:         Mon, 26 Apr 1999 10:35:52 -0400
   From: John Cowan <[log in to unmask]>

   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?

I'm not a native speaker of English, but to the best of my knowledge
there's no formal difference between this 'let' and the imperative of
any other verb with the same argument structure. For instance, in an
indirect speech report you would see something like "The President
said that we should let the word go out...". If/when it becomes
grammaticalized, that might become "The President said that let the
word go out...".

                                           My current Sprachgefuehl
   is that all sense of "let" = "permit" is gone from this construction.

Still, I can't see that it's become a third-person _imperative_. Even
without the "permit" sense, it still expresses a wish on the part of
the speaker directed to the listener: "Let every man be free" does not
mean that all those unfree people should get their ass in gear, but
that _you_ (the listener) are a bad person if you don't help them.
Perhaps hortative or optative could be used.

Lars Mathiesen (U of Copenhagen CS Dep) <[log in to unmask]> (Humour NOT marked)