Topics in Conditionals

S. Iatridou, 1991

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This thesis is concerned with a number of issues that pertain to the syntax and semantics of conditional constructions.

In Chapter 1, there is a treatment of basic syntactic properties that characterize that relationship between the IF-clause and the matrix clause, as well as relationships internal to the IF-clause.  Some similarities bewteen if and other elements that introduce clauses are discussed.

In Chapter 2, there is a typology of conditional constructions with respect to their meaning and syntactic properties.  It is argues that there are three different types of conditionals, if the semantic and syntactic relationship between the IF-clause and the matrix clause is taken into account.  The contrasts between two conditional types is assimiliated to the contrasts between appositive and restrictive relative clauses, and between BECAUSE- AND SINCE- clauses.

In Chapter 3, it is argued that conditional then has a meaning, and a specfic proposal is advanced to account for its distribution on semantic grounds.

In Chapter 4, there is a discussion of the syntactic properties of conditional then, and a general proposal is put forth to account for the syntactic environments in which it’s presence is restricted.

Thesis Supervisor:         Noam Chomsky

Title:                             Institute Professor

Table of Contents

Chapter One    Some Initial Syntactic Proposals                                                            9

            1.1       Positioning                                                                                            9

            1.2       Containment in the VP or I-bar adjunction?                                           15

            1.3       How does the IF-clause appear sentence-initially?                                 24

            1.4       Inside the IF-clause                                                                              33

                        1.4.1    What and where is if?                                                               34

                        1.4.2    Does if have lower construals?                                      41

Chapter Two    Types of Conditionals                                                                           50

            2.1       The Relevance Conditional or Conditional Speech Act              50

            2.2       The Factual Conditional                                                                        58

                        2.2.1    A first description                                                                     58

                        2.2.2    FC vs. RC                                                                                63

                        2.2.3    FC vs. HC                                                                               69

                        2.2.4    BECAUSE- and SINCE-clauses                                              81

                        2.2.5    Back to the FCs                                                                       91

                        2.2.6    Summary                                                                                  96

Chapter Three  The Semantic Contribution of “then”                                                      99

            3.1       The semantic contribution of then                                                          99

                        3.1.1    Where then does not appear                                                     103

                        3.1.2    Resumptive pronoun?                                                               117

                        3.1.3    A modification of (2b)                                                   121

            3.2       Some more environments whree then is degraded                                  123

            3.3       Two side-points                                                                                    131

                        3.3.1    ‘Only/even CP’ needs Case                                                      131

                        3.3.2    pro cannot refer to events                                                         138

Chapter Four    The Syntax of “then”                                                                             146

            4.1       The syntax                                                                                            146

                        4.1.1    What follows then                                                                     146

                        4.1.2    Positioning                                                                                147

                        4.1.3    Head or Specifier                                                                     156

            4.2       Some more environments where then cannot appear                              166

                        4.2.1    Negative contexts                                                                     166

                        4.2.2    Embedded contexts                                                                  171

                        4.2.3    Towards a solution                                                                   175