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Bookmark and Share Paper 2709

Deriving Some Properties of Protasis-Referring Conditionals
Anie Thompson
250-258 (complete paper or proceedings contents)


This paper focuses on a particular type of conditional, termed protasis-referring conditionals. In these conditionals, an anaphor in the conditional consequent makes reference to the propositional content of the conditional antecedent. This particular reading of the conditional is shown to have several unusual properties. In particular, the types of predicates which may appear in the consequent are limited, and NPIs are degraded in the antecedent when a positive affective predicate occurs in the consequent. Previous analyses of these conditionals, which rely on movement between the if-clause and the relevant argument position of the consequent predicate, do not predict the data seen. They underpredict the types of predicates which may occur in the conditional consequent; they also cast the NPI generalization as one of exceptional licensing by negative affective predicates, again underpredicting the data. However, under a quantificational analysis, these data become less mysterious. In this analysis, the if-clause functions as the restrictor of an adverb of quantification, while the consequent anaphor is a quantificationally bound variable in the nuclear scope. The lexical restriction effects are derived via the interaction of the lexical semantics of predicates and the fact that conditional antecedents are taken to be true with respect to the conditional consequent. Predicates which cannot allow their complements to be true are impossible in the construction. Likewise, the quantificational analysis produces a more stable base for the NPI licensing, casting the generalization as one of exceptional override of the general licensing mechanism by certain predicates.

Published in

Proceedings of the 29th West Coast Conference on Formal Linguistics
edited by Jaehoon Choi, E. Alan Hogue, Jeffrey Punske, Deniz Tat, Jessamyn Schertz, and Alex Trueman
Table of contents
Printed edition: $375.00