This paper studies a construction in which specificational 'namely' takes a modal expression as antecedent, and an if- or when-clause as argument (example: Working as a filmmaker can be taxing, namely if you're required to get sleek product shots). Such cases do not satisfy previously claimed generalizations about the behavior of 'namely' in Anderbois & Jacobson (2018) and Onea (2016). Moreover, these cases show that modal expressions can raise an implicit question that gets answered by an if/when-clause. Not all types of modals allow this -- the paper argues that it is restricted to Portner's (2009) category of "quantificational modals". Following Portner's (2009) idea that quantificational modals are quantifiers over situations, the central proposal is that a modal or adverbial operator is licensed as antecedent of 'namely' only when the formal objects that are existentially quantified over can be singled out and identified. This leads to a difference in inquisitiveness between situation-quantifiers and world-quantifiers. This account gives insights into the inquisitive character of modal operators, and elucidates the difference between modal restriction by if-clauses (in regular conditionals) and modal specification by if-clauses (in the construction studied here). Finally, it provides a better view of the role of if- and when-clauses in a question-answer framework of discourse.
Proceedings of the 38th West Coast Conference on Formal Linguistics
edited by Rachel Soo, Una Y. Chow, and Sander Nederveen Table of contents
ISBN 978-1-57473-479-9 hardback
vii + 503 pages
publication date: 2021
published by Cascadilla Proceedings Project, Somerville, MA, USA