3 Conditional utterances in English Conditional constructions are not the only way to express conditional thoughtsTake one more step and I’ll kill youYour money or your life
4 Conditional utterances in English Conditional constructions can be used for other purposes other than expressing conditional thoughtsIf you wouldn’t mind, could you close the door?If that’s a real diamond, I’ll eat my hat!
5 A cross-linguistic perspective Guugu Yimithirr (Australian, QNL): no overt conditionalsThe dog might bark. The postman might run away.(Evans & Levinson 2009: 443, after Haviland 1979)
6 Outline Classifying conditionals Conditionals and speakers’ intentions: A corpus-based accountRecovering intended effects through linguistic cuesRadical contextualismRepresenting conditional meaning in Interactive Semantics
7 Theoretical assumption Want a semantics that captures intuitive meaningsThe diversity of ways of expressing conditional meaning, as well as the diversity of uses to which conditional if can be put, are not a problem for a radical contextualist theory.Radical contextualism. Logical form may be enriched or even overridden to give speaker’s intended meaning (Jaszczolt 2010, Default Semantics)
8 Devising criteria for classification Want to allow that conditional meaning may or may not be speaker’s primary intended meaningNo conditional LFPrimary meaning is conditionalConditional LFPrimary meaning is not conditional
9 Classifying conditionals No bi-unique correlation between conditional constructions and conditional meaningsDoes not make sense to talk of a category of conditionals in terms of constructions“The history of the conditional is the story of a syntactic mistake” (Kratzer 2012:106)
10 Criteria for classification 2 roles of the antecedent p:indicates remoteness from the actual worldspeaker is not committed to its truthis a suppositionrestricts situations in which main clause holds
11 Pilot study (ICE-GB, Elder 2012) 46% of conditional utterances use ifNarrowing scope to conditional constructionsWant to look at relation between form and contentMethodological problems of a corpus project
12 Conditionals and speech acts If you rang her now she’d say yes (advice)If you hit me with it once more I’ll kill you (threat)Be great if you would do that (request)
13 Experimental studies in ‘pragmatic conditionals’ Interlocutors infer pragmatic effects from particular aspects of the content of conditional clauses (Bonnefon & Politzer 2010)What linguistic clues generate these inferences?
14 Speech acts: A disclaimer Speech are not easily classifiable by grammatical cues (cf. Austin 1962; Searle 1975; Searle & Vanderveken 1985)It’s not a threat it’s a promise. If you come near my family once more I’ll kill you.Speakers may not be aware of the speech act they are performing (cf. Sperber & Wilson 1995)Illocutionary forces may be derived pragmaticallyLabels used are for exemplification only
15 Example If you drop the vase it will break >> Don’t drop the vaseConditional warningMain message: Don’t do ppqhearer’s actionnegative consequenceFor contextualists, it is the intended meaning which is of interest
16 Indicators of speech acts Does p or q express volition? If so, of whom?Does the outcome described in q have a positive/negative effect on someone? If so, on whom?
17 Threat If you do that one more time I’ll kill you Main message: Don’t do ppqhearer’s actionspeaker’s actionnegative consequence to hearer
18 Conditional offer If you’re hungry there are biscuits on the sideboard >> If you’re hungry there are biscuits which you may have on the sideboard>> If you’re hungry please help yourself to biscuits on the sideboardIssuing authority is speakerMain message: You may do qpqhearer’s actionpositive consequence
19 DiscussionUtterance may have conditional LF with non-conditional primary meaningLF may be overridden to give primary meaningConstituent parts of conditional construction may be enriched/overridden giving input to non-conditional implicature
20 No consequent?Now if you’d like to put on your helmet…that’d be great?…you’ll be safe?…the police won’t catch you?>> put on your helmetThere need not be one single intended consequent recoverable from the contextAt the level of thoughts, there may not be an intention of a consequent
21 Now if you’d like to put on your helmet… q (inferred)hearer’s actionpositive consequenceMain message: Do pConventionalised use of if
22 Intermediary conclusions Speaker’s primary intended meaning may arise at any level of pragmatic processThere are different degrees of intentions associated with conditional meaningWhy would we want to capture this variety of meaning in semantics?How is it possible to capture this variety of meaning of conditionals in semantics?
23 Conditionals in radical contextualism “…while perhaps none of the logical connectives are universally lexically expressed, there is no evidence that languages differ in whether or not logical connectives are present in their logical forms.”(von Fintel & Matthewson 2008:170)
24 Suppositions as primary or secondary meanings Now if you’d like to put on your helmet
25 Conditionals in Default Semantics K. M. Jaszczolt, Default Semantics: Foundations of a Compositional Theory of Acts of Communication. Oxford: Oxford University PressK. M. Jaszczolt, ‘Default Semantics’. In: B. Heine and H. Narrog (eds). The Oxford Handbook of Linguistic Analysis. Oxford: Oxford University Press,
29 Mapping between sources and processes WK SCWD or CPISC SCWD or CPIWS WS (logical form)SD CPIIS CDDS/IS makes use of the processing model and it indexes the components of ∑ with a subscript standing for the type of processing
30 Representing conditional thought (two dimensions) p ? ∑,PM‘If you leave your tea on a wobbly table…’p ? ∑, SM‘If you’d like to put your helmet on’ PM: Put your helmet onp qWS, PM‘If it rains we’ll stay at home’p qWS, SM‘If you’re hungry, there are biscuits on the sideboard’ PM: Help yourself to biscuits? p q∑, PM‘Touch his iPad and he’ll scream’ PM: If you touch his iPad he’ll scream’? ? p q∑, SM‘Please put your helmet on’ SM: If you put your helmet on, you’ll be safer’
31 Fig 3: ∑ for 2. p ? ∑, SM ‘If you’d like to put your helmet on’
32 Fig 4: ∑ for 5. p q∑, PM ‘Touch his iPad and he’ll scream’
33 ConclusionsConditional thought may constitute primary or secondary meaning and may be expressed by a conditional or other sentence form;When conditional thought is adopted as the object of study, the category of conditionals cannot be restricted to specific constructions;The diversity of (i) uses to which conditional if can be put and (ii) ways of expressing conditional meaning can be represented in a radical contextualist account (DS/IS);DS/IS allows us to represent (i) the intended use of conditional sentences, as well as (ii) conditional meaning expressed in a non-conditional form.
34 ReferencesAustin, J. L How To Do Things With Words. eds. J. O. Urmson & M. Sbisa. Harvard University Press.Bonnefon, J.-F. & G. Politzer ‘Pragmatic conditional, conditional pragmatics, and the pragmatic component of conditional reasoning’. In Cognition and Conditionals: Probability and Logic in Human Thinking, eds. M. Oaksford & N. Chater. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Elder, C-H ‘The underlying conditionality of conditionals which do not use if’ eds. J. Naruadol Chancharu, X. F. Hu & M. Mitrovic. Cambridge Occasional Papers in Linguistics 6.Evans, N. & S. C. Levinson ‘The myth of language universals: Language diversity and its importance for cognitive science’. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 32 (05), 429–448.von Fintel, K. & L. Matthewson ‘Universals in semantics’. Linguistic review 25 (1/2), 139.Jaszczolt, K. M Default Semantics: Foundations of a Compositional Theory of Acts of Communication. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Jaszczolt, K. M ‘Default Semantics’. In The Oxford Handbook of Linguistic Analysis, eds. B. Heine & H. Narrog. Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp. 193–221.Jaszczolt, K. M. forthcoming. Interactive Semantics. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Kratzer, A ‘Conditionals’. Reprinted in 2012, Modals and Conditionals. Oxford University Press, ppSearle, J. R ‘Indirect Speech Acts’. Syntax and Semantics 3, 59–82.Searle, J. R. & D. Vanderveken Foundations of illocutionary logic. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Sperber, D. & D. Wilson Relevance: Communication and Cognition. Oxford: Blackwell Publishing.