Linguistics Conditionals
by
Ana Arregui
  • LAST MODIFIED: 10 March 2015
  • DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780199772810-0093

Introduction

Over the years, conditionals have proven a lively domain of research in disciplines such as linguistics, philosophy, and cognitive science. The study of conditionals in linguistics has provided critical insights into many issues across diverse domains in syntax, semantics, and pragmatics. In English, conditionals are standardly of the form “If A, (then) B,” where the if-clause is known as the antecedent or protasis, and the main clause is known as the consequent or apodosis. There is a relatively large body of linguistic research on a variety of conditional constructions and puzzles (where, with notable exceptions, the focus has been on data from English). It includes (among many others) work on indicative conditionals (e.g., If Oswald didn’t kill Kennedy, somebody else did), counterfactual conditionals (e.g., If kangaroos had no tails, they would topple over), deontic conditionals (e.g., If the doctor gives medicine B on Monday, he should give B on Tuesday), “biscuit conditionals” (e.g., There are biscuits on the sideboard if you want them), anaphoric relations in conditionals (e.g., If a farmer owns a donkey, he beats it), etc. As well as addressing some of the traditional philosophical puzzles (e.g., the distinction between indicative and subjunctive/counterfactual conditionals), debates in linguistics address specifically linguistic topics (such as the nature of the structural relation between the antecedent and the consequent, the role of tense and aspect, presupposition projection in conditionals, the role of if-clauses as restrictors, motivation for dynamic approaches to meaning, cross-linguistic generalizations, nonstandard conditionals, the role of discourse and information structure, etc.). The majority of the works cited in this article are drawn from the linguistic literature and focus on canonical conditional constructions. While it is not always possible to establish a clear division between “philosophical” vs. “linguistic” works, the emphasis has been on research that addresses natural language data, focuses on meaning compositionality, syntax, cross-linguistic variation, or in some other way addresses theoretical questions that are part of the standardly recognized linguistics tradition.

Conditionals in Linguistics

The texts cited in this section provide introductions and overviews of topics in the semantics of conditionals framed within linguistic discussions. Some of the works are of particular interest for descriptive information about conditionals in English and will be helpful to readers who wish to have a comprehensive overview of data patterns possible in the language: Declerck and Reed 2001 provides a detailed overview and classification of conditionals, while Quirk, et al. 1985 and Huddleston and Pullum 2002 are general grammars that include insightful sections on conditionals. Von Fintel 2011 and von Fintel 2012 provide overviews of topics in conditionals that integrate philosophical and linguistic concerns, paying attention to philosophical puzzles within a more linguistics-oriented setting. Palmer 2001 offers a discussion of modality in natural language backed up with a wide range of cross-linguistic data, while Portner 2009 provides a more theoretical and technical overview of modal issues. Though not dedicated to conditionals, both works provide important background. Portner 2009 is of particular interest in presenting a general introduction to Kratzer’s work on modality and conditionals, of enormous impact in the field (see references to Kratzer’s work in Natural Language Semantics).

  • Declerck, Renate, and Susan Reed. 2001. Conditionals: A comprehensive empirical analysis. Berlin: Walter de Gruyter.

    DOI: 10.1515/9783110851748Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    The book provides a detailed and thorough descriptive overview of conditionals in English, proposing a classification of different kinds of conditionals, examining diverse conditional connectives, tense patterns, marked structures, and interpretations. Of interest to readers who would like an overview of the complex pattern of data going beyond traditional examples.

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    • von Fintel, Kai. 2011. Conditionals. In Semantics: An international handbook of meaning. Vol. 2. Edited by Klaus von Heusinger, Claudia Maienborn, and Paul Portner, 1515–1538. Handbücher zur Sprach- und Kommunikationswissenschaft 33.2. Berlin and Boston: de Gruyter Mouton.

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      An introduction to classic topics in the semantics of conditionals, offering an overview of philosophically inspired proposals as well as more compositional linguistically inspired analyses. An ideal introduction to the topic, combining traditional problems and state-of-the-art research.

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      • von Fintel, Kai. 2012. Subjunctive conditionals. In The Routledge companion to philosophy of language. Edited by Gillian Russell and Delia Graff Fara, 466–477. New York: Routledge.

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        An overview of issues in the semantics of subjunctive/counterfactual conditionals. It covers classic problems in philosophy (e.g., non-monotonicity) but includes also topics that are part of the more “linguistic” tradition (e.g., dynamic analyses, the restrictor view, the role of tense and aspect).

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        • Huddleston, Rodney, and Geoffrey K. Pullum. 2002. The Cambridge grammar of the English language. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge Univ. Press.

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          The grammar includes a descriptive overview of conditionals in English, discussing classification as well as tense/aspect marking.

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          • Palmer, Frank R. 2001. Mood and modality. 2d ed. Cambridge Textbooks in Linguistics. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge Univ. Press.

            DOI: 10.1017/CBO9781139167178Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

            The book offers a classic introduction to topics in modality, including illustrative data from a wide range of languages. It does not have a section dedicated to conditionals, but topics of great importance for an understanding of conditionals are discussed throughout the book (e.g., indicative/subjunctive, realis/irrealis, real/unreal conditions).

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            • Portner, Paul. 2009. Modality: Oxford surveys in semantics and pragmatics. Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press.

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              A comprehensive and up-to-date introduction to topics in modality geared fundamentally toward linguistic issues. It includes a brief section on conditionals (pp. 247–257). Highly recommended, it will be of interest to readers wishing to locate the topic of conditionals within the larger topic of modality.

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              • Quirk, Randolph, Sidney Greenbaum, Geoffrey Leech, and Jan Svartvik. 1985. A comprehensive grammar of the English language. London and New York: Longman.

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                The grammar provides descriptive generalizations and classifications of conditionals in English.

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                Collections of Papers

                The collections cited in this section provide interdisciplinary perspectives on the study of conditionals. Traugott, et al. 1986 has been a highly influential work bringing together leading scholars from various disciplines. Athanasiadou and Dirven 1997 is a continuation along similar lines.

                • Athanasiadou, Angeliki, and René Dirven, eds. 1997. On conditionals again. Amsterdam: Benjamins.

                  DOI: 10.1075/cilt.143Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                  Collection of papers from a symposium on conditionality held in the University of Duisburg in 1994. The volume was conceived as a follow-up to Traugott, et al. 1986, and includes among others papers on conceptual primitives and conditionality, tense, mood, and cognitive distance.

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                  • Traugott, Elizabeth Closs, Alice ter Meulen, and Judy Reilly, eds. 1986. On conditionals. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge Univ. Press.

                    DOI: 10.1017/CBO9780511753466Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                    Includes a section with survey papers on general topics and a section with papers dedicated to particular issues on the topic of conditionals. Among the latter are papers dedicated to specific semantic topics, conditionals in discourse, linguistic studies, the historical development of conditionals, and the acquisition of conditionals.

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                    Conditionals in Philosophy

                    The topic of conditionals has been traditionally discussed in the literature in philosophy and logic, and linguistic theories of conditionals are heavily indebted to philosophical discussions. The works cited in this section provide overviews of research on conditionals framed within discussions generated in philosophy and logic. Jackson 2006 and Gillies 2012 are short and accessible summaries of philosophical issues associated with conditionals, both paying attention to theoretical predictions about inference patterns (in the case of Gillies 2012 the focus is on indicative conditionals). Bennett 2003, Edgington 2007, and Edgington 2008 present more detailed overviews of philosophical discussions of conditionals (Bennett 2003 is a book-length treatment), including thorough critical overviews of various theories as well as some of the authors’ own views. There is a vast literature on conditional logic, and Cross and Nute 2001 and Arlo-Costa 2009 both provide technical overviews of the most important approaches, including probabilistic logic, possible-worlds semantics, and belief-revision theory. Readers are referred to the Oxford Bibliographies in Philosophy entry on “Conditionals” (Gauker 2011) for further references in the domain of philosophy.

                    • Arlo-Costa, Horacio. 2009. The logic of conditionals. In The Stanford encyclopedia of philosophy. Edited by Edward N. Zalta. Stanford, CA: Stanford Univ.

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                      The paper will be of interest to readers wanting to have an overview of the characterization of conditional meaning within logic. It provides an overview of various traditions, focusing on ontic, probabilistic, and epistemic conditionals.

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                      • Bennett, Jonathan. 2003. A philosophical guide to conditionals. New York: Oxford Univ. Press.

                        DOI: 10.1093/0199258872.001.0001Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                        Provides a very reader-friendly and thorough introduction to philosophical topics in conditionals, defending a probabilistic account. Highly recommended.

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                        • Cross, Charles, and Donald Nute. 2001. Conditional logic. In Handbook of philosophical logic. Vol. 4. Rev. ed. Edited by Dov Gabbay and Franz Guenthner, 1–98. Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Springer.

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                          A formal overview of theories of conditionals within philosophical logic. Of interest to readers who desire technical information about conditional logic, it includes both possible-world semantics and belief-revision theory.

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                          • Edgington, Dorothy. 2007. On conditionals. In Handbook of philosophical logic. Vol. 14. Rev. ed. Edited by Dov Gabbay and Franz Guenthner, 127–221. Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Springer.

                            DOI: 10.1007/978-1-4020-6324-4Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                            A critical overview of different approaches to conditionals within philosophical traditions. Recommended as a relatively thorough though not very long overview.

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                            • Edgington, Dorothy. 2008. Conditionals. In The Stanford encyclopedia of philosophy. Edited by Edward N. Zalta. Stanford, CA: Stanford Univ.

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                              The paper provides an overview of puzzles in the semantics of conditionals that have long interested philosophers, such as the matter of truth-conditions, conditional belief and conditional probability, and possible-worlds semantics.

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                              • Gauker, Christopher. 2011. Conditionals. In Oxford Bibliographies in Philosophy. Edited by Duncan Pritchard. New York: Oxford Univ. Press.

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                                A thorough commented bibliography referencing classical philosophical works on conditionals as well as key publications on a variety of topics (including a.o. the logic of conditionals, differences between the proposals of Lewis and Stalnaker, conditional assertion, probabilistic theories, dynamic semantics, and contextualist approaches).

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                                • Gillies, Anthony S. 2012. Indicative conditionals. In The Routledge companion to the philosophy of language. Edited by Gillian Russell and Delia Graff Fara, 449–465. New York: Routledge.

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                                  An overview of theories of indicative conditionals within the philosophical tradition with many interesting examples. Natural language sentences are associated with expressions in formal languages and intuitions about entailments are used to evaluate proposals.

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                                  • Jackson, Frank. 2006. Conditionals. In The Blackwell guide to the philosophy of language. Edited by Michael Devitt and Richard Hanley, 212–224. Oxford: Blackwell.

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                                    A brief overview of various theories of conditionals developed within the philosophical tradition that pays particular attention to the conditional inference patterns validated by each account.

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                                    Psychology and Cognitive Science

                                    Investigations into conditionals form part of a vast literature in psychology and cognitive sciences that focuses on reasoning. The works cited in this section provide an introduction to the topic. Johnson-Laird and Byrne 2002 offers an informal theory of the meaning of conditionals backed up by discussion of experimental results, while the collection of papers in Oaksford and Chater 2010 contains state-of-the art chapters by leading experts in the field including both mental-models and probabilistic approaches.

                                    • Johnson-Laird, P. N., and Ruth Byrne. 2002. Conditionals: A theory of meaning, pragmatics and inference. Psychological Review 109.4: 646–678.

                                      DOI: 10.1037/0033-295X.109.4.646Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                      An informal discussion of the meaning of conditionals in relation to a theory of mental models. Interesting overview of experimental literature and results.

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                                      • Oaksford, Mike, and Nick Chater, eds. 2010. Cognition and conditionals: Probability and logic in human thinking. Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press.

                                        DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199233298.001.0001Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                        Collection of papers by leading figures that investigates the role of logic and probability in various aspects of reasoning with conditionals. It includes an introductory chapter that provides an excellent overview of links between psychology and logic/philosophy as well as a history of experimental results. Of relevance for readers interested in conditionals and reasoning.

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                                        Foundational Work

                                        The works cited in this section, a mixture of philosophy, linguistics, and logic, have been highly influential in the early stages of the development of linguistic theories of conditionals and are still at the core of contemporary debates about the meanings of conditionals.

                                        Philosophical Topics

                                        Goodman 1947 develops an analysis of conditionals in terms facts “cotenable” with the antecedent (the approach has become influential in linguistics via the work of Kratzer and Veltman). Stalnaker 1968 and Lewis 1973 both develop possible-worlds theories of the meanings of conditionals (in the case of Lewis, with focus on counterfactuals). In spite of differences between the accounts, they have jointly given rise to standard analyses of conditionals in linguistics, dubbed “Stalnaker-Lewis” proposals. At the core of the proposals is modal quantification that invokes similarity with the evaluation world. Stalnaker 1975 focuses on the case of indicatives and proposes that the distinction between indicatives and subjunctives be captured in terms of presuppositions (a view defended in much subsequent linguistic work; see, e.g., von Fintel 1999, cited under Presuppositions).

                                        • Goodman, Nelson. 1947. The problem of counterfactual conditionals. Journal of Philosophy 44.5: 113–128.

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                                          The paper defends a semantics for counterfactuals according to which a counterfactual is true if, given certain laws, the antecedent together with “cotenable” facts leads to the consequent. This approach has been of importance to the linguistic literature on conditionals as it provided inspiration for the theories of both Kratzer and Veltman.

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                                          • Lewis, David. 1973. Counterfactuals. Oxford: Blackwell.

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                                            A highly influential work that presents an overview of Lewis’s views on counterfactuals, as well as comparisons with other proposals and discussions of intuitions and numerous examples.

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                                            • Stalnaker, Robert. 1968. A theory of conditionals. In Studies in logical theory. Edited by Nicholas Rescher, 98–112. Oxford: Blackwell.

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                                              A seminal paper that proposes an analysis of conditionals in terms of truth in the nearest possible world.

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                                              • Stalnaker, Robert. 1975. Indicative conditionals. Philosophia 5:269–286.

                                                DOI: 10.1007/BF02379021Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                A discussion of Stalnaker’s theory of conditionals focused on indicatives. It has been highly influential on the linguistic literature, among other reasons for suggesting that the difference between indicatives/subjunctives is best captured in terms of suspension of presuppositions.

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                                                Natural Language Semantics

                                                Both Veltman 1976 and Kratzer 1979 develop theories of conditionals in terms of premise semantics that build on Goodman’s views. Kratzer 2012 is a collection of revised papers by the author that brings together some of the most influential work on conditionals and modality in natural language. The papers included in this collection provide the basis for most discussions of the semantics of conditionals in linguistics. In these papers the author argues (among other things) for a context-dependent theory of modality, a bi-dimensional approach to modal meanings, and the characterization of if-clauses as restrictors. An overview of Kratzer’s work can be found in Portner 2009 (cited under Conditionals in Linguistics).

                                                • Kratzer, Angelika. 1979. Conditional necessity and possibility. In Semantics from different points of view. Edited by Rainer Bäuerle, Urs Egli, and Arnim von Stechow, 117–147. Berlin and New York: Springer.

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                                                  Develops an analysis of conditionals within premise semantics and discusses the case of both indicative and subjunctive conditionals, developing rules of use. The analysis is shown to handle inconsistent premise sets and highly context-dependent counterfactual reasoning.

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                                                  • Kratzer, Angelika. 2012. Modals and conditionals: New and revised perspectives. Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press.

                                                    DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199234684.001.0001Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                    Collection of papers by author that includes revised and updated versions of seminal papers in the semantics of conditionals and modality. The collection includes the following papers (among others): “What ‘Must’ and ‘Can’ Must and Can Mean,” “The Notional Category of Modality,” “Conditionals” and “An Investigation of the Lumps of Thought.”

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                                                    • Veltman, Frank. 1976. Prejudices, presuppositions and the theory of conditionals. In Amsterdam papers in formal grammar. Vol. 1. Edited by Jeroen Groenendijk and Martin Stokhof, 248–281. Amsterdam: Centrale Interfaculteit, Univ. of Amsterdam.

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                                                      A proposal for the semantics of counterfactuals in terms of “premise sets” that seeks to capture intuitions about dependencies between facts. Epistemic concerns guide the construction of the premise sets.

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                                                      Syntax of Conditionals

                                                      Research dedicated to the syntax of conditionals has mostly focused on the status of the if-clause and the connection between the if-clause and the matrix clause. Haiman 1993 provides a brief, early overview, including a discussion of conditionals as topics. Bhatt and Pancheva 2006 is a thorough and up-to-date critical overview of the major syntactic issues, including influential views such as the correlative/free relative analysis. Brasoveanu 2012 situates the discussion of conditionals as correlatives within a broader class of correlative constructions. (See references cited under If-Clauses as Definite Descriptions in Correlative-Style Analyses for the semantic interpretation of conditional correlative structures, e.g., Schlenker 2004, Alonso-Ovalle 2009). Early views of if-clauses as relative clauses can be found in Geis 1970 and Geis 1985. Haegeman and Wekker 1984 and Haegeman 2003 discuss different types of if-clauses, exploring how attachment sites correlate with interpretation. Iatridou 1991 is an influential study that laid out much of the groundwork for current debates. (Discussions of the syntax of conditionals that are not focused on English can be found in the sections on Typology and Analyses of Conditionals in Languages Other than English; see also Rawlins 2013, cited under Non-Canonical Conditional Constructions, for an analysis of the syntax of conditionals and unconditionals).

                                                      • Bhatt, Rajesh, and Roumyana Pancheva. 2006. Conditionals. In The Blackwell companion to syntax. Edited by Martin Everaert, Henk van Riemsdijk, Rob Goedamans, and Bart Hollebrandse, 638–687. Malden, MA: Blackwell.

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                                                        A thorough overview of the major issues in the syntax of conditionals and an excellent place to start when reading on this topic. A basic reference for structural issues, including the position of the if-clause, the nature of the link between antecedent and consequent, and a variety of conditional constructions.

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                                                        • Brasoveanu, Adrian. 2012. Correlatives. Language and Linguistics Compass 6.1: 1–20.

                                                          DOI: 10.1002/lnc3.318Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                          It has often been argued that syntactically conditionals are a type of correlative structure. This paper is of interest because it offers an overview of the interpretation of correlatives across Indo-European languages, situating the discussion of conditionals within a broader set of data.

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                                                          • Geis, Michael L. 1970. Adverbial subordinate clauses in English. PhD diss., MIT.

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                                                            Includes discussion of conditionals and examines parallelisms between if-clauses and free relative clauses.

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                                                            • Geis, Michael L. 1985. The syntax of conditional sentences. In Studies in generalized phrase structure grammar. By Michael L. Geis, 130–159. Columbus: Department of Linguistics, Ohio State Univ.

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                                                              Early proposal to treat if-clauses as a type of relative clause that allows for reference to specific events/circumstances.

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                                                              • Haegeman, Liliane. 2003. Conditional clauses: External and internal syntax. Mind and Language 18.4: 317–339.

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                                                                Investigates the external and internal syntax of if-clauses, establishing distinctions between “event” conditionals (where they modify the matrix clause) and “premise” conditionals (where they structure the discourse). (Related topics in the section on Biscuit Conditionals.)

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                                                                • Haegeman, Liliane, and Herman Wekker. 1984. The syntax and interpretation of future conditionals in English. Journal of Linguistics 20:45–55.

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                                                                  An investigation of the syntactic structure of conditionals, focusing on the fact that will/would do not normally show up in if-clauses. It establishes a difference between peripheral and non-peripheral if-clauses corresponding to different attachment sites.

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                                                                  • Haiman, John. 1993. Conditionals. In Syntax: An international handbook of contemporary research. Edited by Joachim Jacobs, Arnim von Stechow, Wolfgang Sternefeld, and Theo Vennemann, 923–930. Berlin: de Gruyter.

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                                                                    A short overview of topics in conditionals that aims to bring together philosophical and linguistic concerns, providing discussion of ordinary language conditionals, integration between clauses, and conditionals as topics.

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                                                                    • Iatridou, Sabine. 1991. Topics in conditionals. PhD diss., MIT.

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                                                                      One of the important early studies in the syntax of conditionals, this dissertation laid out the groundwork for much of the discussion that followed, including the position of the if-clause, types of conditionals, and the syntax and semantics of then in the consequent.

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                                                                      Typology

                                                                      The work cited in this section can be framed, roughly, within the typological tradition. Work on conditionals within typology has often been divorced from philosophically inspired formal accounts. The goal from a typological perspective has been to provide an overview of variation in the shapes of conditional constructions across languages and (at times) to draw conclusions regarding what is cross-linguistically stable in conditionals. Comrie 1986 is an influential early study, attempting to characterize core features that are cross-linguistically stable in conditionals. Traugott 1985 addresses the matter of universals in conditional marking across languages from the perspective of historical change. Wierzbicka 1997 follows up on the cross-linguistic perspective, arguing for IF as a conceptual primitive. Zaefferer 1991 is unusual in marrying a typological perspective to more formal philosophy-inspired accounts. Xrakovskij 2005 is of interest for the wealth of descriptive data from a wide range of languages, including Bulgarian, Dari, Armenian, Hindu, Old Greek, Archaic Latin, French, German, English, Finnish, Estonian, Hungarian, Hausa, Klamath, Indonesian, Cambodian, Vietnamese, Ancient Chinese, Even, Evenki, Eskimo, Yukaghir, and Japanese. Hacking 1998 also offers interesting comparative data, focused on Russian and Macedonian. (See also Analyses of Conditionals in Languages Other than English for discussion of formal analyses of conditionals in other languages.)

                                                                      • Comrie, Bernard. 1986. Conditionals: A typology. In On conditionals. Edited by Elizabeth Closs Traugott, Alice ter Meulen, and Judy Reilly, 77–100. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge Univ. Press.

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                                                                        The paper explores a cross-linguistic characterization of what it means to be a conditional, identifying both features that are cross-linguistically stable and features that vary. The paper touches on issues such as clause order, conditional marking, degree of “hypotheticality,” and temporal reference.

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                                                                        • Hacking, Jane F. 1998. Coding the hypothetical: Comparative typology of Russian and Macedonian conditionals. Amsterdam: Benjamins.

                                                                          DOI: 10.1075/slcs.38Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                          A typological comparative study of conditionals in Russian and Macedonian. The emphasis is on structural issues and grammatical categories such as tense, aspect, and mood.

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                                                                          • Traugott, Elizabeth. 1985. Conditional markers. In Iconicity in syntax. Edited by John Haiman, 289–307. Amsterdam: Benjamins.

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                                                                            Provides an overview of the historical development of markers of the antecedents of conditionals (protasis) from a cross-linguistic perspective. The study aims to isolate universal factors in this historical development and is presented as a contribution to a theory of semantic change. It is of interest in terms of both historical changes and synchronic typology of conditional markers.

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                                                                            • Wierzbicka, Anna. 1997. Conditionals and counterfactuals: Conceptual primitives and linguistic universals. In On conditionals again. Edited by Angeliki Athanasiadou and Rene Dirven, 15–60. Amsterdam and New York: Benjamins.

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                                                                              Claims that IF is a conceptual primitive found across all languages, and that the category “counterfactual” is also a primitive. Discusses a variety of cross-linguistic data, often in reference to Comrie 1986.

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                                                                              • Xrakovskij, Victor S., ed. 2005. Typology of conditional constructions. Munich: LINCOM Studies in Theoretical Linguistics, LINCOM Europa Academic.

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                                                                                This volume was prepared by the Language Typology Institute of Linguistic Research of the Russian Academy of Sciences as a translation of a Russian book published eight years earlier. Part 1 includes a chapter outlining the theoretical concept of the research, and Part 2 includes twenty-four chapters on conditional sentences in structurally different languages, including languages in which conditional constructions are complex sentences and languages in which they are converbal/infinitival phrases.

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                                                                                • Zaefferer, Dietmar. 1991. Conditional and unconditionals: Crosslinguistic and logical aspects. In Semantic universals and universal semantics. Edited by Dietmar Zaefferer, 210–236. Berlin: Foris.

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                                                                                  An unusual work in that it brings together typological concerns with more formal accounts, sketching a dynamic theory of conditionals inspired by work by Barwise and Austin.

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                                                                                  Conditional Then

                                                                                  The works cited in this section investigate the role of conditional then. Iatridou 1994 is an influential paper that argues that then carries special presuppositions. Izvorski 1996 discusses the syntax and semantics of conditional then across a variety of languages, drawing inspiration from Iatridou 1994. Dancygier and Sweetser 1997 approaches then from a different perspective, accounting for its contribution in terms of a theory of mental spaces.

                                                                                  • Dancygier, Barbara, and Eve Sweetser. 1997. Then in conditional constructions. Cognitive Linguistics 8.2: 109–136.

                                                                                    DOI: 10.1515/cogl.1997.8.2.109Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                    A proposal that tackles the contribution of conditional then within a theory of mental spaces in the sense of Fauconnier. The proposal links then to conditional perfection, arguing that then is anaphoric to the mental space set up by the if-clause.

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                                                                                    • Iatridou, Sabine. 1994. On the contribution of conditional then. Natural Language Semantics 2:171–199.

                                                                                      DOI: 10.1007/BF01256742Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                      The paper examines the semantics and syntax of then in the consequent clause of conditionals, with the claim that it carries the presupposition that in some cases in which the antecedent is false, the consequent is also false (i.e., the consequent does not hold “no matter what”).

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                                                                                      • Izvorski, Roumyana. 1996. The syntax and semantics of correlative proforms. In Proceedings of NELS 26. Edited by Kiyomi Kusumoto, 133–147. Amherst: GLSA, Univ. of Massachusetts.

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                                                                                        An analysis of conditional then as a correlative pro-form that takes into account both syntax and semantics. Includes data from a variety of languages.

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                                                                                        Indicatives and Subjunctive Conditionals

                                                                                        Indicative and subjunctive conditionals have received the most attention in the semantic literature (where the latter includes types sometimes dubbed “counterfactual”). The following is a well-known pair of examples illustrating the difference: (i) “If Oswald didn’t kill Kennedy, someone else did” (indicative) vs. (ii) “If Oswald hadn’t killed Kennedy, someone else would have” (subjunctive/counterfactual) (most people judge (i) true and (ii) false). The terminology has been inherited from the philosophical tradition and remains very much in use. It is not clear, however, what is the linguistic significance of the classification. In the case of English, the difference between the two types of conditionals is indicated by the choice of tense and aspect morphology. The main interpretative intuition that differentiates between the two types is that in the case of indicatives, the truth of the antecedent is understood to be in some sense an “open issue,” but this not typically the case for subjunctives. With some exceptions, the semantic literature has focused on providing a truth-conditional possible-worlds semantics for both types of conditionals. (See also papers in the sections Dynamic Analysis of Conditionals and Analyses of Conditionals in Languages Other than English).

                                                                                        Presuppositions

                                                                                        The topics of presuppositions and conditionals interact in many ways. Stalnaker 1975 (cited under Philosophical Topics) has been influential in differentiating between subjunctives and indicatives in terms of presuppositions. Von Fintel 1999 provides an overview of theories of subjunctives and sides with Stalnaker in claiming that subjunctives signal that presuppositions are suspended. Both Ippolito 2003 and Ippolito 2006 investigate the relation between presuppositions and tense, providing compositional accounts of the role of tense in subjunctives from which it is possible to derive the properties of presupposition projection and counterfactuality implicatures. Ippolito 2013 expands on previous work providing critical discussion of alternative proposals. Leahy 2011 follows up on the discussion of implicatures within a theory of anti-presuppositions. (See also the section on the Proviso Problem for discussion of the strength of projecting presuppositions.)

                                                                                        • von Fintel, Kai. 1999. The presupposition of subjunctive conditionals. In The interpretive tract: Working papers in syntax and semantics. Edited by Uli Sauerland and Orin Percus, 29–44. MIT Working Papers in Linguistics 25. Cambridge, MA: Dept. of Linguistics, MIT.

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                                                                                          Argues for a quantificational, possible-worlds semantics for conditionals according to which subjunctive conditionals differ from indicatives in signaling that quantification takes place over at least some worlds outside the context set. Includes a helpful literature review.

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                                                                                          • Ippolito, Michela. 2003. Presuppositions and implicatures in counterfactuals. Natural Language Semantics 11:145–186.

                                                                                            DOI: 10.1023/A:1024411924818Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                            Provides a compositional account of past subjunctive conditionals in which there appears to be a mismatch between tense and interpretation. Past tense is argued to shift the evaluation time relevant for the modal accessibility relation. Implicatures and presuppositions associated with past subjunctives are shown to follow from the analysis.

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                                                                                            • Ippolito, Michela. 2006. Semantic composition and presuppositions projection in subjunctive conditionals. Linguistics and Philosophy 29:631–672.

                                                                                              DOI: 10.1007/s10988-006-9006-2Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                              The paper offers a compositional analysis of subjunctive conditionals that characterizes them as bare conditionals embedded under temporal operators. The properties of presupposition projection in conditionals are derived from the proposal, capturing differences between different types of past subjunctives.

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                                                                                              • Ippolito, Michela. 2013. Subjunctive conditionals: A linguistic analysis. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

                                                                                                DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262019484.001.0001Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                The book spells out a compositional analysis of subjunctive conditionals that brings together and expands on the insights of the author’s previous work. It offers a critical review of current literature and spells out the author’s proposal to link presuppositions and tense morphology.

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                                                                                                • Leahy, Brian. 2011. Presuppositions and antipresuppositions in conditionals. In Proceedings of SALT 21, Held at Rutgers Univ., New Brunswick, NJ, 20–22 May 2011. Edited by Neil Ashton, Anca Chereches, and David Lutz, 257–274.

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                                                                                                  Accounts for the common intuition that the antecedent of a subjunctive conditional is false on the basis of a theory of anti-presuppositions.

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                                                                                                  Tense and Aspect

                                                                                                  While temporal and modal parameters have traditionally been kept apart in formal semantics, they appear to come together in the semantics of conditionals. Much recent work in the semantics of conditionals has focused on figuring out the apparently modal role of morphology that has traditionally been assigned a purely temporal role. Iatridou 2000 argued that past tense in conditionals can lead to shifts in both the time and world of evaluation. Arregui 2007 and Arregui 2009 argued for a modal role for aspect and tense, respectively. Kaufmann 2005 focused on indicative conditionals, arguing that present tense in the antecedent receives its standard interpretation, while Schulz 2008 argued for a standard interpretation for tenses in conditional contexts more generally. (Ippolito 2003 and Ippolito 2006, cited under Presuppositions, are also highly relevant to this debate, since Ippolito links the behavior of presuppositions to temporal parameters in conditionals.) Though not focused on conditionals, Condoravdi 2002 spelled out an influential theory of the temporal interpretation of modals of relevance also to conditionals.

                                                                                                  • Arregui, Ana. 2007. When aspect matters: The case of would-conditionals. Natural Language Semantics 15:221–264.

                                                                                                    DOI: 10.1007/s11050-007-9019-6Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                    The paper argues for a unified semantics for conditionals in which perfective aspect plays a crucial role in tying the interpretation of a conditional to what is happening in the actual world, resulting in quantification over worlds compatible with what is known.

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                                                                                                    • Arregui, Ana. 2009. On similarity in counterfactuals. Linguistics and Philosophy 32.3: 245–278.

                                                                                                      DOI: 10.1007/s10988-009-9060-7Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                      The paper argues that past tense receives its standard interpretation in counterfactuals and is responsible for the fact that the interpretation of the conditionals is sensitive to considerations of similarity with the actual world.

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                                                                                                      • Condoravdi, Cleo. 2002. Temporal interpretation of modals: Modals for the present and for the past. In The construction of meaning. Edited by David Beaver, Stefan Kaufmann, Brady Clark, and Luis Casillas Martinez, 59–88. Stanford, CA: CSLI.

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                                                                                                        Influential paper on the interaction between temporal interpretation and types of modality, focusing on epistemic and metaphysical modals. The paper does not address conditionals directly, but the discussion will be relevant for readers interested in temporal interpretation in conditionals.

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                                                                                                        • Iatridou, Sabine. 2000. The grammatical ingredients of counterfactuality. Linguistic Inquiry 31:231–270.

                                                                                                          DOI: 10.1162/002438900554352Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                          The paper argues for a unified interpretation for past tense in conditionals that has both modal and temporal consequences. The role of past tense is to “shift” the interpretation away from either the time of evaluation or the world of evaluation. Presents a rich compilation of cross-linguistic data.

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                                                                                                          • Kaufmann, Stefan. 2005. Conditional truth and future reference. Journal of Semantics 22.3: 231–280.

                                                                                                            DOI: 10.1093/jos/ffh025Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                            A model-theoretic account of the interpretation of indicative conditionals in which the meaning of the conditional depends on the interaction between modal and temporal components. Present tense in the antecedent is claimed to have the same interpretation as in ordinary non-conditional sentences. Offers discussion of a wide set of examples.

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                                                                                                            • Schulz, Katrin. 2008. Non-deictic tenses in conditionals. In Proceedings of SALT 18. Held at Univ. of Massachusetts, Amherst, 21–23 March 2008. Edited by Tova Friedman and Satoshi Ito, 694–710.

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                                                                                                              An analysis of the interpretation of tenses in conditional sentences. The paper argues for a compositional account in which tenses receive a (familiar) non-deictic semantics and are interpreted as relative tenses.

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                                                                                                              If-Clauses as Restrictors

                                                                                                              Much research on conditionals has focused on the relation between antecedent and consequent clauses. Inspired by Lewis 1975, Kratzer (e.g., Kratzer 1991) put forth the highly influential proposal that the role of if-clauses is to restrict the domain of quantification of an operator heading the conditional construction (see also Kratzer 2012, cited under Natural Language Semantics, for recent discussion). The restrictor analysis has been argued to explain the apparent variation in the quantificational force of indefinites in conditionals, known as quantificational variability effects. Heim 1982 built on the Lewis-Kratzer restrictor view to develop a highly influential proposal that explains the quantificational force of indefinites in antecedents as well as anaphoric relations in conditional constructions (see also Donkey Sentences: Anaphora in Conditionals and Dynamic Analyses of Conditionals). The restrictor approach to if-clauses is also pursued in von Fintel 1994, which investigates quantifier restriction more generally. (See Schulz 2010 for objections to some versions of the restrictor analysis; see also Quantified Conditionals and Compositionality.) Proponents of the restrictor analysis have claimed that the operator heading the conditional construction may remain implicit. Farkas and Sugioka 1983 appeals to implicit operators to account for generic interpretations of conditionals, arguing for a distinction between restrictor vs. ordinary when/if-clauses. Krifka, et al. 1995 provides an overview of generics that situates generic conditionals within the larger set of generic statements.

                                                                                                              • Farkas, Donka, and Yoko Sugioka. 1983. Restrictive if/when clauses. Linguistics and Philosophy 6:225–258.

                                                                                                                DOI: 10.1007/BF00635644Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                This paper provides an analysis of if/when clauses, comparing “restrictive” and “ordinary” versions. The former are claimed to restrict unselective binders and give rise to a variety of readings depending on the type of object the free-variables range over (e.g., kinds, stages). The main empirical focus of the paper is on generic-type readings.

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                                                                                                                • von Fintel, Kai. 1994. Restrictions on quantifier domains. PhD diss., GLSA, Univ. of Massachusetts, Amherst.

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                                                                                                                  The focus of this work is on restrictions to domains of quantification. It includes chapters dedicated to the compositional analysis of conditionals within situations-semantics, both for the case of ordinary conditionals, exceptive unless conditionals, and even if and only if conditionals.

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                                                                                                                  • Heim, Irene. 1982. The semantics of definite and indefinite noun phrases. PhD diss., Univ. of Massachusetts, Amherst.

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                                                                                                                    Highly influential analysis of the meaning of definite and indefinite NPs that examines their interpretation in a wide range of contexts. The author studies the interpretation of conditional constructions in both a static and a dynamic framework, addressing issues such as quantificational variability and anaphora (see also Dynamic Analyses of Conditionals).

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                                                                                                                    • Kratzer, Angelika. 1991. Conditionals. In Semantik/Semantics: Ein internationales Handbuch der zeitgenössischen Forschung/An international handbook of contemporary research. Edited by Arnim von Stechow and Dieter Wunderlich, 651–656. Berlin and New York: De Gruyter.

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                                                                                                                      A concise overview of Kratzer’s views on conditionals; presents the characterization of if-clauses as restrictors.

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                                                                                                                      • Krifka, Manfred, Francis Pelletier, Gregory Carlson, Alice ter Meulen, Gennaro Chierchia, and Goderhard Link. 1995. Genericity: An introduction. In The generics book. Edited by Gregory Carlson and Francis Pelletier, 1–124. Chicago: Univ. of Chicago Press.

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                                                                                                                        This paper is the introduction to a collection of papers on genericity. It provides a thorough overview of generic constructions, including generic conditionals. It will be of interest to readers looking for an introduction to the semantics of generic conditionals in relation to the interpretation of other types of generic expressions.

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                                                                                                                        • Lewis, David. 1975. Adverbs of quantification. In Formal semantics of natural language. Edited by Edward L. Keenan, 3–15. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge Univ. Press.

                                                                                                                          DOI: 10.1017/CBO9780511897696Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                          This foundational paper discusses conditional structures in connection to quantificational adverbs. It characterizes quantificational adverbs as unselective binders and presents early arguments for if-clauses as restrictors. It has provided inspiration for much current work in the semantics of conditionals.

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                                                                                                                          • Schulz, Katrin. 2010. Troubles at the semantics/syntax interface: Some thoughts about the modal approach to conditionals. In Proceedings of Sinn und Bedeutung 14. Held at Dept. of Linguistics, Univ. of Vienna, 28–30 September 2009. Edited by Martin Prinzhorn, Viola Schmitt, and Sarah Zobel, 388–404.

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                                                                                                                            Argues against syntactic representations in which the if-clause is a syntactic argument of the operator it restricts.

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                                                                                                                            If-Clauses as Definite Descriptions in Correlative-Style Analyses

                                                                                                                            While many proposals in the linguistic literature treat if-clauses in indicative and subjunctive conditionals as restrictors on an operator, it has also been proposed that conditionals are similar to correlative constructions with antecedents interpreted as definite descriptions. (See also Bhatt and Pancheva 2006 and Brasoveanu 2012, cited under Syntax of Conditionals, for discussion of correlative analyses of conditionals in syntax.) Both Schein 2003 and Schlenker 2004 propose analyses in which antecedents function as definite descriptions, but while Schein treats antecedents as descriptions of events, Schlenker characterizes them as referring to possible worlds. Alonso-Ovalle 2009 builds on the correlative analysis, treating conditional antecedents as universal quantifiers over propositions. (See also Schlenker 2005, cited under Analyses of Conditionals in Languages Other than English and Rawlins 2013, cited under Non-Canonical Conditional Constructions.)

                                                                                                                            • Alonso-Ovalle, Luis. 2009. Counterfactuals, correlatives and disjunctions. Linguistics and Philosophy 32.2: 207–244.

                                                                                                                              DOI: 10.1007/s10988-009-9059-0Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                              Shows how a correlative-style analysis of conditionals together with an alternative-based semantics for disjunction can account for classic puzzles arising with disjunctive antecedents in counterfactuals while preserving a standard semantics for counterfactuals in terms of quantification over minimally different worlds.

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                                                                                                                              • Schein, Barry. 2003. Adverbial, descriptive reciprocals. Philosophical Perspectives 17.1: 333–367.

                                                                                                                                DOI: 10.1111/j.1520-8583.2003.00013.xSave Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                The focus of the paper is on the analysis of reciprocals as adverbials, but it includes a comparison with if-clauses in conditionals, which are argued to be definite descriptions of events.

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                                                                                                                                • Schlenker, Philippe. 2004. Conditionals as definite descriptions (a referential analysis). Research on Language and Computation 2.3: 162–417.

                                                                                                                                  DOI: 10.1007/s11168-004-0908-2Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                  An analysis of conditionals that treats if-clauses as referential definite descriptions. The paper provides a comparison with other theories and an overview of the consequences that follow from the analysis.

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                                                                                                                                  Cognitive Approaches to Conditional Meaning

                                                                                                                                  While compositionality has been a central topic in linguistic research on conditionals, not all researchers have attempted to focus on the compositional derivation of truth-conditions. Dancygier 1998 makes a proposal within Cognitive Grammar in order to account for conventionalized meanings. Dancygier and Sweetser 2005 builds on earlier work in order to tackle the construction of conditional meanings within cognitive approaches.

                                                                                                                                  • Dancygier, Barbara. 1998. Conditionals and prediction: Time, knowledge, and causation in conditional constructions. Cambridge Studies in Linguistics 87. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge Univ. Press.

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                                                                                                                                    A proposal for a theory of conditionals focusing on English inspired mostly by cognitive approaches (in particular Construction Grammar) with interesting data overview. The main goal is to provide an account of how the various aspects of linguistic form conventionally contribute to conditional meaning.

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                                                                                                                                    • Dancygier, Barbara, and Eve Sweetser. 2005. Mental spaces in grammar: Conditional constructions. Cambridge Studies in Linguistics 108. New York: Cambridge Univ. Press.

                                                                                                                                      DOI: 10.1017/CBO9780511486760Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                      A proposal for the interpretation of conditional constructions in English set within the framework of Cognitive Grammar, Construction Grammar, and theories of mental spaces. The proposal builds on previous work by both authors and includes discussions of compositionality, the role of frames, epistemic distance, and speech acts (a.o.).

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                                                                                                                                      Deontic Conditionals

                                                                                                                                      Even though deontic conditionals have played an important role in the development of Kratzer’s bi-dimensional modal semantics, they remain relatively under-studied in the linguistics literature. Discussion of deontic conditionals and deontic paradoxes can be found in Kratzer’s early work (see Kratzer 2012, cited under Natural Language Semantics), as well as in Portner 2009 (cited under Conditionals in Linguistics). Zvolenszky 2002 argues that Kratzer’s early work makes incorrect predictions for deontic conditionals. Arregui 2010 investigates deontic conditionals building on Chisholm’s Paradox.

                                                                                                                                      Anankastic Conditionals

                                                                                                                                      The term Anankastic conditionals (from the Greek word for necessity) is used for conditionals that establish a link of necessity between the desires/goals expressed by the antecedent if-clause and the means described in the consequent (e.g., If you want to go to Harlem, you have to/ should take the A train). The puzzle is a puzzle of compositionality: how do Anankastic conditionals establish the link between desires and means? Early work such as Saebø 2001 proposed to solve the puzzle by allowing the “inner antecedent” (in the example, that you go to Harlem) to be added to the ordering source of the conditional modal in a modified Kratzer-style analysis of conditionals. Von Fintel and Iatridou 2005 proposes that the if-clause provides a designated goal argument for the embedded modal. Huitink 2005 argues that the antecedent clause influences the ordering source of the modal, while Stechow, et al. 2006 argues that changes are brought about in the modal base. Nissenbaum 2005 provides a more syntactic analysis in which a rationale clause modifies the VP in the scope of the modal.

                                                                                                                                      • von Fintel, Kai, and Sabine Iatridou. 2005. What to do if you want to go to Harlem: Anankastic conditionals and related matters. Presented at Linguistics Colloquium, Univ. Tübingen, 11 July 2006.

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                                                                                                                                        Influential account of the semantics of Anankastic conditionals in which the if-clause is given a treatment parallel to infinitival purpose clauses and characterized as a (sometimes elliptical) goal-argument of the modal in the consequent clause.

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                                                                                                                                        • Huitink, Janneke. 2005. Analyzing Anankastic conditionals and sufficiency modals. In Proceedings of ConSOLE XIII, Held at Tromsø, Norway, 2004. Edited by Sylvia Blaho, Luis Vicente, and Erik Schoorlemmer, 135–156.

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                                                                                                                                          Offers an analysis of Anankastic conditionals in which the ordering source for the conditional modal is sensitive only to the goals/wishes found in the antecedent clause. Available online.

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                                                                                                                                          • Nissenbaum, Jon. 2005. Kissing Pedro Martínez: (Existential) Anankastic conditionals and rationale clauses. In Proceedings of SALT 15, Held at Univ. of California, Los Angeles, 25–27 March 2005. Edited by Efthymia Georgala and Jonathan Howell, 134–151.

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                                                                                                                                            Establishes a comparison between Anankastics and the existential version “Eparkastic” conditionals (If you want to go to Harlem, you can take the A train). Argues that both types embed purposive rationale clauses that modify the VP within the scope of the conditional modal, which may be elided.

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                                                                                                                                            • Saebø, Kjell Johan. 2001. Necessary condition in a natural language. In Audiatur vox sapientiae: A Festschrift for Arnim von Stechow. Edited by Caroline Féry and Wolfgang Sternefeld, 427–449. Berlin: Akademie Verlag.

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                                                                                                                                              Influential early paper that offers a modal analysis of Anankastic conditionals based on a Kratzer-style theory of modality according to which the “inner antecedent” (you go to Harlem) is added to the ordering source instead of the modal base. Points to relation between Anankastic if-clauses and purpose to-clauses.

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                                                                                                                                              • Stechow, Arnim von, Sveta Krasikova, and Doris Penka. 2006. Anankastic conditionals again. In A Festschrift for Kjell Johan Sæbø. Edited by Torgrim Solstad, Atle Grønn, and Dag Haug, 151–172. Oslo, Norway: Forfatterne.

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                                                                                                                                                The authors propose that in Anankastic conditionals (If you want to go to Harlem, you have to take the A train), the inner antecedent (to go to Harlem) is added to the circumstantial modal base. The Anankastic conditional is then analyzed as a conditional assertion.

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                                                                                                                                                Biscuit Conditionals

                                                                                                                                                The texts cited in this section investigate a type of conditional that is known as “biscuit” conditionals (following an early example in Austin 1956: There are biscuits on the sideboard if you want them). Other names include “pragmatic conditionals,” “relevance conditionals,” and “non-conditional conditionals.” The intuition reported for this kind of conditional is that the if-clause provides conditions for the assertion/utterance of the consequent, as opposed to its truth: Geis and Lycan 1993 suggests a performative analysis of biscuit conditionals, DeRose and Grandy 1999 argues for an analysis in terms of conditional assertion, and Siegel 2006 introduces quantification over potential assertions. Franke 2007 defends a unified semantics for biscuit and standard conditionals and accounts for their differences pragmatically. (See also Gillies 2012, cited under Conditionals in Philosophy, for a comparison with indicatives, and Ebert, et al. 2008, cited under Conditionals, Discourse, and Information Structure, for an analysis of biscuit conditionals in terms of topics).

                                                                                                                                                • Austin, John L. 1956. Ifs and cans. Proceedings of the British Academy 42:107–132.

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                                                                                                                                                  A discussion of if-clauses that do not express causal conditions, mostly concerned with the relation between the modal can- and if-clauses. The discussion is framed in the context of philosophical discussion of ethics, but the author presents many highly insightful everyday examples of interest to linguists.

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                                                                                                                                                  • DeRose, Keith, and Richard E. Grandy. 1999. Conditional assertions and biscuit conditionals. Noûs 33:405–420.

                                                                                                                                                    DOI: 10.1111/0029-4624.00161Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                    Argues for a unified account of conditionals in terms of conditional assertion that handles ordinary indicatives as well as biscuit conditionals.

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                                                                                                                                                    • Franke, Michael. 2007. The pragmatics of biscuit conditionals. In Proceedings of the 16th Amsterdam Colloquium. Edited by Maria Aloni, Paul Dekker, and Floris Roelofsen, 91–96.

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                                                                                                                                                      Defends a purely pragmatic account of biscuit conditionals, appealing to epistemic independence between antecedents and consequent to explain their non-conditional interpretation and to optimal contexts to account for their discourse function.

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                                                                                                                                                      • Geis, Michael L., and William G. Lycan. 1993. Non-conditional conditionals. Philosophical Topics 21:35–56.

                                                                                                                                                        DOI: 10.5840/philtopics199321215Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                        The paper provides an overview of conditionals with non-canonical relations between antecedent and consequent, including biscuit conditionals. There is a tentative suggestion of a performative analysis. Interesting data overview and generalizations.

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                                                                                                                                                        • Siegel, Muffy. 2006. Biscuit conditionals: Quantification over potential literal acts. Linguistics & Philosophy 29:167–203.

                                                                                                                                                          DOI: 10.1007/s10988-006-0003-2Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                          Provides a critical overview of previous literature and defends an analysis of biscuit conditionals in terms of existential quantification over (relevant) potential “literal” acts in the sense of Searle (such as assertions or exclamations).

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                                                                                                                                                          Donkey Sentences: Anaphora in Conditionals

                                                                                                                                                          Conditional constructions allow for anaphoric relations between pronouns in the consequent and elements in the antecedent clause that seem to defy analysis in terms of bound-variable or referential pronouns. Examples of this kind were pointed out by Geach 1980 and, given that they originally included donkeys (e.g., If a farmer owns a donkey, he beats it), have come to be known as “donkey sentences.” Conditional donkey sentences are part of a larger set of examples that pose problems for a naïve characterization of pronouns as either referential or bound (known globally as “donkey anaphora”). They have proven a fruitful field of inquiry, providing inspiration both for alternative treatments of pronouns (e.g., “E-type pronouns”) and for dynamic conceptions of meaning (see Dynamic Analyses of Conditionals). Evans 1980 defended an analysis of pronouns in donkey sentences that accounted for pronouns in terms of definite descriptions. This approach, known as the E-type pronoun analysis, has been combined with a Kratzer-style situations-semantic framework (Kratzer 2012, cited under Natural Language Semantics) to account for donkey anaphora in a variety of ways (e.g., Berman 1987, Heim 1990, and Elbourne 2005). Kratzer-style situations allow for an analysis of pronouns as definite descriptions without unwelcome uniqueness effects (see Heim 1982, cited under If-Clauses as Restrictors, for a critical overview of Evan’s original formulation). For alternative analysis of donkey sentences within dynamic frameworks, see Dynamic Analyses of Conditionals.

                                                                                                                                                          • Berman, Steve. 1987. Situation-based semantics for adverbs of quantification. In Issues in semantics. Vol. 12. Edited by James Blevins and Anne Vainikka, 45–68. University of Massachusetts Occasional Papers in Linguistics. Amherst, MA: GLSA.

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                                                                                                                                                            The paper provides a first analysis of quantificational adverbs within the framework of Kratzer-style situations-semantics. The appeal to situations is claimed to allow an E-type treatment of pronouns in donkey sentences without undesirable uniqueness implications.

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                                                                                                                                                            • Elbourne, Paul. 2005. Situations and individuals. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

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                                                                                                                                                              The book presents a detailed critical summary of competing analyses of donkey pronouns. Adopting a Kratzer-style situations-semantics, the author defends the view that pronouns are definite articles followed by deleted NPs, showing how this analysis illuminates various issues in donkey anaphora.

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                                                                                                                                                              • Evans, Gareth. 1980. Pronouns. Linguistic Inquiry 11:337–362.

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                                                                                                                                                                The paper provides an overview of the author’s highly influential views on pronouns. It includes a defense of what the author dubs “E-type” pronouns (that have their reference fixed by means of a description) and an analysis of anaphoric relations in conditionals in terms of E-type pronouns.

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                                                                                                                                                                • Geach, Peter. 1980. Reference and generality: An examination of some medieval and modern theories. 3d ed. Ithaca, NY: Cornell Univ. Press.

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                                                                                                                                                                  A philosophical investigation of the referential character of terms in natural language. It includes detailed discussions of the interpretation of pronouns associated with quantificational expressions and addresses pronouns in conditionals. It presents the first discussion of “donkey sentences” (p. 126) and will be of historical interest (mainly pp. 143ff).

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                                                                                                                                                                  • Heim, Irene. 1990. E-type pronouns and donkey anaphora. Linguistics and Philosophy 13:137–177.

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                                                                                                                                                                    Presents a defense of the E-type strategy to donkey pronouns showing that previously noted shortcomings (Heim 1982) could be addressed by adopting quantification over Kratzer-style situations (Kratzer 2012). The paper considers both a purely pragmatic and a syntactically constrained account of the relation between pronoun and antecedent.

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                                                                                                                                                                    Dynamic Analyses of Conditionals

                                                                                                                                                                    Dynamic approaches typically characterize meaning in terms of changes or updates to a context/information state. The works cited in this section develop dynamic accounts of conditionals in various forms. Dynamic approaches have been particularly important in terms of accounting for the relation between the antecedent and consequent clauses of conditionals, and in terms of explaining anaphoric relations in conditionals (see also Donkey Sentences: Anaphora in Conditionals). Kratzer’s work on conditionals offers an early example of a context-change theory (see Natural Language Semantics). Veltman 1986 develops a theory of indicatives within the framework of information models, while Veltman 2005 develops a dynamic analysis for the case of counterfactuals. “File change semantics” (Heim 1982, cited under If-Clauses as Restrictors) and “Discourse Representation Theory” (DRT) (Kamp 1981, Kamp and Reyle 1993) are influential early dynamic accounts that address the interpretation of conditionals and specifically target anaphoric relations in conditional constructions (see If-Clauses as Restrictors and Donkey Sentences: Anaphora in Conditionals). Chierchia 1995 offers an overview of problems of anaphora within dynamic frameworks that addresses the specific issue of anaphoric relations in conditionals and includes a proposal inspired by the dynamic proposals in Groenendijk and Stokhof 1990. Addressing classic problems in the semantics of counterfactuals, von Fintel 2001 appeals to a dynamic framework to preserve a strict semantics for counterfactuals. Van Rooij 2006 develops a dynamic analysis in order to deal with disjunctions and the interpretation of any. (For related issues, see also the sections Presuppositions and Donkey Sentences: Anaphora in Conditionals, as well as papers in the section Analyses of Conditionals in Languages Other than English, The Proviso Problem, and Non-Canonical Conditional Constructions.)

                                                                                                                                                                    • Chierchia, Gennaro. 1995. Dynamics of meaning: Anaphora, presupposition, and the theory of grammar. Chicago: Univ. of Chicago Press.

                                                                                                                                                                      DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226104515.001.0001Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                      This book provides a critical overview of a series of dynamic frameworks, including DRT, file change semantics, and dynamic semantics. It includes discussion of the semantics of conditional constructions, various readings of donkey sentences, and binding.

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                                                                                                                                                                      • von Fintel, Kai. 2001. Counterfactuals in a dynamic context. In Ken Hale: A life in language. Edited by Michael Kenstowicz, 123–153. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

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                                                                                                                                                                        The paper develops a strict analysis of counterfactual conditionals within a dynamic framework. The analysis provides an explanation, among others, for intuitions about reversed Sobel-sequences and the licensing of negative polarity items in the antecedents of conditionals.

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                                                                                                                                                                        • Groenendijk, Jeroen, and Martin Stokhof. 1990. Dynamic Montague Grammar. In Papers from the Second Symposium on Logic and Language. Edited by László Kálmán and László Pólos, 3–48. Budapest: Akadémiai Kiadó.

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                                                                                                                                                                          Building on the authors’ previous work on dynamic predicate logic, this paper develops a dynamic framework for Montague Grammar (Dynamic Montague Grammar—DMG). It includes an analysis of conditionals and donkey anaphora and can serve as an introduction to the authors’ influential work on dynamic semantics.

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                                                                                                                                                                          • Kamp, Hans. 1981. A theory of truth and semantic representation. In Formal methods in the study of language. Edited by Jeroen Groenendijk, Theo Janssen, and Martin Stokhof, 277–322. Amsterdam: Mathematical Center.

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                                                                                                                                                                            Develops a highly influential early dynamic theory of meaning that addresses the interpretation of indefinites in conditionals and donkey anaphora. The paper provides the first presentation of the framework of DRT.

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                                                                                                                                                                            • Kamp, Hans, and Uwe Reyle. 1993. From discourse to logic. Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Kluwer.

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                                                                                                                                                                              A thorough presentation of DRT addressing a series of empirical puzzles. It includes discussion of conditionals and donkey anaphora. It will be useful to readers wishing to expand on the ideas presented in Kamp 1981.

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                                                                                                                                                                              • van Rooij, Robert. 2006. Free choice counterfactual donkeys. Journal of Semantics 23:383–402.

                                                                                                                                                                                DOI: 10.1093/jos/ffl004Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                Provides an analysis of counterfactual donkey sentences within a framework of dynamic semantics adopting a Lewis-Stalnaker view of counterfactual conditionals. Focus on disjunction and any.

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                                                                                                                                                                                • Veltman, Frank. 1986. Data semantics and the pragmatics of indicative conditionals. In On conditionals. Edited by Elizabeth Closs Traugott, Alice ter Meulen, and Judy Reilly, 147–168. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge Univ. Press.

                                                                                                                                                                                  DOI: 10.1017/CBO9780511753466Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                  Develops a semantic theory of (indicative) conditionals on the basis of information models (data semantics) that also delivers a theory of pragmatic (in)correctness. Interesting early discussion of the pragmatics of conditionals and issues relevant in dynamic semantics.

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                                                                                                                                                                                  • Veltman, Frank. 2005. Making counterfactual assumptions. Journal of Semantics 22.2: 159–180.

                                                                                                                                                                                    DOI: 10.1093/jos/ffh022Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                    The paper develops a dynamic semantics for counterfactual conditionals by defining counterfactual updates on cognitive states. The proposal is examined in relation to various well-known puzzles in the semantics of counterfactuals.

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                                                                                                                                                                                    Quantified Conditionals and Compositionality

                                                                                                                                                                                    Higginbotham 1986 pointed to a set of examples in which conditionals interact with quantifiers, claiming that they pose a problem for compositional semantics (e.g., No student will succeed if he goofs off). Huitink 2010 provides a survey of the topic. Von Fintel 1998 argues that a solution can be found with the correct analysis of if-clauses as restrictors. Higginbotham 2003 and Klinedinst 2011 argue for a solution based on adopting Conditional Excluded Middle (CEM). (See also If-Clauses as Restrictors.)

                                                                                                                                                                                    • von Fintel, Kai. 1998. Quantifiers and if-clauses. The Philosophical Quarterly 48:209–214.

                                                                                                                                                                                      DOI: 10.1111/1467-9213.00095Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                      Argues that a solution to the compositionality problem can be found within a Lewis-Kratzer–style analysis of if-clauses as quantifier-restrictors.

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                                                                                                                                                                                      • Higginbotham, James. 1986. Linguistic theory and Davidson’s program in semantics. In Truth and interpretation: Perspectives on the philosophy of Donald Davidson. Edited by Ernest Lepore, 29–48. Oxford: Blackwell.

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                                                                                                                                                                                        Presents examples where conditionals interact with quantifiers that are argued to be non-compositional (the interpretation of the conditional structure seems to depend non-locally on the quantificational subject).

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                                                                                                                                                                                        • Higginbotham, James. 2003. Conditionals and compositionality. Philosophical Perspectives 17:181–194.

                                                                                                                                                                                          DOI: 10.1111/j.1520-8583.2003.00008.xSave Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                          Shows that the problematic examples can be given a compositional solution if CEM is presupposed.

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                                                                                                                                                                                          • Huitink, Janneke. 2010. Quantified conditionals and compositionality. Language and Linguistics Compass 4.1: 42–53.

                                                                                                                                                                                            DOI: 10.1111/j.1749-818X.2009.00175.xSave Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                            Provides an overview of the problem and a critical review of the various solutions found in the literature, including influential non-published work. Good introduction to the topic.

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                                                                                                                                                                                            • Klinedinst, Nathan. 2011. Quantified conditionals and Conditional Excluded Middle. Journal of Semantics 28:149–170.

                                                                                                                                                                                              DOI: 10.1093/jos/ffq015Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                              Argues that CEM can account for the meaning intuitions associated with conditionals with quantified subjects reported in Higginbotham 1986. The paper reviews concerns found in the literature regarding a CEM account and argues that they can be addressed within a Stalnakarian semantics for conditionals.

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                                                                                                                                                                                              Conditionals, Discourse, and Information Structure

                                                                                                                                                                                              There is a vast literature from various linguistic traditions on the relation between conditionals and notions related to discourse and information structure, such as topic/givenness/focus/new information, etc. The main concern has been to establish links between the structure of the conditional and properties of discourse. Haiman 1978 is an important early paper establishing a link between conditional clauses and topics. Work by Ebert and colleagues, illustrated in Ebert, et al. 2008, provides recent arguments for an analysis of if-clauses as topics, with different types of topics correlated with differences in the type of conditional meaning. Iatridou and Embick 1994 has linked conditional inversion in the antecedent clause to the information status of the antecedent proposition, with Biezma 2011 elaborating on the discussion. Ogihara 2000 argues for a focus-sensitive semantics for counterfactuals.

                                                                                                                                                                                              • Biezma, María. 2011. Conditional inversion and GIVENNESS. In Proceedings of SALT 21. Held at Rutgers Univ., New Brunswick, NJ, 20–22 May 2011. Edited by Neil Ashton, Anca Chereches, and David Lutz, 552–571.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                Provides an account of conditional inversion in relation to theories of focus and givenness developed by Schwarzschild.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                • Ebert, Christian, Cornelia Endriss, and Stefan Hinterwimmer. 2008. A unified analysis of indicative and biscuit conditionals as topics. In Proceedings of SALT 18. Held at Univ. of Massachusetts, Amherst, 21–23 March 2008. Edited by Tova Friedman and Satoshi Ito, 266–283.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                  Argues that if-clauses in indicative conditionals are instances of “aboutness” topics, whereas if-clauses in biscuit conditionals are “frame-setting” topics.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Haiman, John. 1978. Conditionals are topics. Language 54:564–589.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                    Early paper supporting the claim that if-clauses are topics; includes cross-linguistic evidence.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Iatridou, Sabine, and David Embick. 1994. Conditional inversion. In NELS 24: Proceedings of the North East Linguistic Society. Edited by Merce Gonzalez, 189–203. Amherst, MA: GLSA.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                      Cross-linguistic study of conditional inversion as I-to-C movement. Conditional inversion is linked to information status with the claim that the truth-value of the proposition corresponding to the discourse antecedent is known.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Ogihara, Toshiyuki. 2000. Counterfactuals, temporal adverbs, and association with focus. In Proceedings of SALT 10, Held at Cornell University, Ithaca, NY, 2–4 June 2000. Edited by Brendan Jackson and Tanya Matthews, 115–131.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                        Argues that focus-determined alternatives play a crucial role in the semantics of counterfactuals. The proposal builds on theories of focus by Matts Rooth and theories of counterfactuals by Angelika Kratzer.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                        The Proviso Problem

                                                                                                                                                                                                        Some theories of presuppositions projection appear to predict that conditional sentences should have conditional presuppositions, whereas in fact intuitions indicate that they carry stronger, unconditioned presuppositions. This has been dubbed the “Proviso Problem” in in Geurts 1996. For example: the conditional “If Theo hates sonnets, then his wife does too” is predicted to presuppose that if Theo hates sonnets, he has a wife, instead of the intuitively available unconditioned presupposition that he has a wife. Proposals have focused on how presuppositions are modeled and how strengthening works. Singh 2007 argues for a dynamic account strengthened with a representational component, van Rooij 2007 claims that strengthening is unproblematic when the antecedent and consequent are independent, and Schlenker 2011 argues that strengthening occurs as part of the process of presupposition accommodation. (See also the section Presuppositions for more general discussion of presuppositions in conditionals.)

                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Geurts, Bart. 1996. Local satisfaction guaranteed: A presupposition theory and its problems. Linguistics and Philosophy 19:259–294.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          DOI: 10.1007/BF00628201Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                          Argues that “satisfaction”-type theories of presupposition run into the Proviso Problem, whereas “binding”-type theories of presupposition do not.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Schlenker, Philippe. 2011. The Proviso Problem: A note. Natural Language Semantics 19:395–422.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            DOI: 10.1007/s11050-011-9072-zSave Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                            Defends a satisfaction-type theory of presuppositions, arguing that strengthening occurs when subjects ignore certain parts of the sentence when accommodating presuppositions, presumably to simplify the computation of meaning.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Singh, Raj. 2007. Formal alternatives as a solution to the Proviso Problem. In Proceedings of SALT 17, Held at Univ. of Connecticut, 11–13 May 2007. 264–281.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                              Proposes a solution to the Proviso Problem by strengthening the dynamic account of presuppositions with the existence of a representational component that determines alternatives shaped by both the presupposition trigger and the syntactic environment.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                              • van Rooij, Robert. 2007. Strengthening conditional presupposition. Journal of Semantics 24:289–304.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                DOI: 10.1093/jos/ffm007Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                Argues that conditional presuppositions can be strengthened to unconditioned presuppositions in a non-problematic manner when the antecedent and consequent are presupposed to be independent.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                Conditional Perfection

                                                                                                                                                                                                                The term “conditional perfection” is used to refer to the tendency by ordinary speakers to strengthen conditional meanings to bi-conditional meanings: for example, the tendency to understand the conditional “If you mow the lawn, I’ll give you five dollars” as the bi-conditional “If and only if you mow the lawn, I’ll give you five dollars.” Explanations for this tendency have appealed to pragmatic reasoning, making proposals as to how to draw the line between what is part of the semantic content of conditionals and what is part of what could be considered pragmatically enriched meaning. Geis and Zwicky 1971 provides an early discussion of conditional perfection in relation to other “invited inferences.” Cornulier 1983 presents an influential pragmatic analysis that builds on the assumption that the if-clause is exhaustive. Van der Auwera 1997a and Van der Auwera 1997b provide an overview of literature and a pragmatic analysis in terms of Gricean implicatures. The proposal in Horn 2000 also adopts a Gricean perspective, with a discussion of a broader set of examples. Von Fintel 2001 builds on Cornulier 1983, linking conditional perfection to discourse conditions.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Cornulier, Benoit de. 1983. If and the presumption of exhaustivity. Journal of Pragmatics 7:247–249.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  DOI: 10.1016/0378-2166(83)90012-7Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Influential short paper that derives conditional perfection as a pragmatic effect from the presumption that the if-clause is exhaustive.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • von Fintel, Kai. 2001. Conditional strengthening: A case study in implicature. PhD diss., MIT, Cambridge, MA.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Provides a pragmatic analysis of conditional perfection inspired by Cornulier’s exhaustivity-based proposal, appealing to the idea that perfection arises when the conditional is asserted as an answer to a question that requires an exhaustive list of sufficient conditions for the consequent.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Geis, Michael, and Arnold Zwicky. 1971. On invited inferences. Linguistic Inquiry 2:561–566.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Early discussion of conditional perfection that characterizes it as an “invited inference” resulting from the tendency to “perfect” the conditional meaning to a bi-conditional. Establishes interesting links with other “invited inferences.”

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Horn, Lawrence. 2000. From if to iff: Conditional perfection as pragmatic strengthening. Journal of Pragmatics 32:289–326.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        DOI: 10.1016/S0378-2166(99)00053-3Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Discusses conditional perfection within the framework of Gricean reasoning. Includes a very interesting overview of an extensive set of data, including other examples of “fallacious” reasoning and a broader range of conditionals, as well as a critical review of previous literature.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • van der Auwera, Johan. 1997a. Pragmatics in the last quarter century: The case of conditional perfection. Journal of Pragmatics 27:261–274.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          DOI: 10.1016/S0378-2166(96)00058-6Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Supports an account of conditional perfection in terms of Gricean Quantity implicatures. Provides a thorough historical overview of the theoretical discussions of the problem.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • van der Auwera, Johan. 1997b. Conditional perfection. In On conditionals again. Edited by Angeliki Athanasiadou and René Dirven, 169–190. Amsterdam: Benjamins.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            DOI: 10.1075/cilt.143Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Provides a brief overview of literature on conditional perfection and develops a Gricean analysis in terms of Quantity implicatures. Focus is on the nature of the relevant scales and the meaning of only if.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Analyses of Conditionals in Languages Other than English

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            The works cited in this section provide (rare) detailed formal analyses of topics in conditionals in languages other than English. Lin 1999, Cheng and Huang 1996, and Chierchia 2000 offer analyses of various types of conditionals in Mandarin Chinese. Schwarz 1998 and Romero 2000 investigate reduced conditionals in German, while Reich 2009 studies asymmetric coordination in the antecedents of conditionals in German. Both Legate 2003 and Han 2006 extend proposals in Iatridou 2000 (cited under Tense and Aspect): Legate 2003 examines counterfactuals in Warlpiri, while Han 2006 examines counterfacutals in Korean. Schlenker 2005 offers a presupposition-based analysis of the subjunctive-indicative distinction in French conditionals. (See also Typology for overviews of conditional structures across languages.)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Cheng, Lisa, and C.-T. James Huang. 1996. Two types of donkey sentences. Natural Language Semantics 14:121–163.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              DOI: 10.1007/BF00355411Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Argues that there are two types of conditionals with donkey anaphora in Mandarin Chinese with different semantic analyses: bare conditionals with multiple occurrences of wh-words analyzed in terms of unselective binding vs. ruguo/dou conditionals with anaphoric elements in the consequent analyzed in terms of E-type pronouns.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Chierchia, Gennaro. 2000. Chinese conditionals and the theory of conditionals. Journal of East Asian Linguistics 9:1–54.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                DOI: 10.1023/A:1008317108361Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Investigates the behavior of Chinese conditionals from the perspective of dynamic semantics, analyzing wh-words as indefinites. Discusses Cheng and Huang 1996.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Han, Chung-Hye. 2006. Variation in form-meaning mapping between Korean and English counterfactuals. Journal of East Asian Linguistics 15.2: 167–193.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  DOI: 10.1007/s10831-005-4914-7Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  This paper extends the analysis of counterfactuals in Iatridou 2000 to the case of Korean. Differences observed between the two languages are argued to follow from differences in the ways the languages grammaticize tense.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Legate, Julie. 2003. The morphosemantics of Warlpiri counterfactual conditionals. Linguistic Inquiry 34.1: 155–162.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    DOI: 10.1162/ling.2003.34.1.155Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Explores the morphosemantic composition of counterfactuals in Warlpiri which do not appeal to past tense in relation to the proposal for counterfactuality made in Iatridou 2000. Provides interesting reference to other papers on similar topics.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Lin, Jo-Wang. 1999. Double quantification and the meaning of shenme “what” in Chinese bare conditionals. Linguistics and Philosophy 22:573–593.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      DOI: 10.1023/A:1005593100617Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      An analysis of Chinese bare conditionals that treats shenme (“what”) as a bare pro-form with a Carlson-style kind analysis. The quantificational properties of bare conditionals are shown to follow from the proposal.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Reich, Ingo. 2009. What asymmetric coordination in German tells us about the syntax and semantics of conditionals. Natural Language Semantics 17.3: 219–244.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        DOI: 10.1007/s11050-009-9041-ySave Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Examines asymmetric coordination in the antecedents of conditionals in German in which coordination does not appear to fall within the scope of if. The paper argues that if makes anaphoric reference to modal bases.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Romero, Maribel. 2000. Reduced conditionals and focus. In Proceedings of SALT 10. Held at Cornell Univ., Ithaca, NY, 2–4 2000. Edited by Brendan Jackson and Tanya Matthews, 149–166.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Alternative proposal to Schwarz 1998 in which the contrast between full and reduced conditionals in German is accounted for in terms of the interaction between the semantics of conditionals and focus.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Schlenker, Philippe. 2005. The lazy Frenchman’s approach to the subjunctive (speculations on reference to worlds and semantic defaults in the analysis of mood). In Romance languages and linguistic theory 2003: Selected papers from “Going Romance” 2003, Nijmegen, 20–22 November. Edited by Twan Geerts, Ivo van Ginneken, and Haike Jacobs, 269–310. Amsterdam: Benjamins.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            DOI: 10.1075/cilt.270Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            An analysis of the subjunctive-indicative distinction in French conditionals that builds on the intuition that subjunctive marks the suspension of presuppositions. Includes data from other languages, and comparison with the role of past tense in English conditionals.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Schwarz, Bernhard. 1998. Reduced conditionals in German: Event quantification and definiteness. Natural Language Semantics 6:271–301.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              DOI: 10.1023/A:1008233732255Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Investigates a type of German conditional with a reduced consequent clause. The differences in interpretation between reduced and full-conditionals is derived on the basis of differences at LF in terms of the definiteness of situation indices.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Non-Canonical Conditional Constructions

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              The papers cited in this section provide a sample of formal work on conditional constructions that do not conform to the standard “If A, (then) B” structure. Included are optatives (Rifkin 2000, Biezma 2011, Grosz 2011), unconditionals (Rawlins 2013), conditional questions (Isaacs and Rawlins 2008), and conditionalized imperatives (Kaufmann and Schwager 2011). See also von Fintel 1994 (cited under If-Clauses as Restrictors) for discussion of even-if and only-if conditionals, as well as exceptive unless-conditionals.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Biezma, María. 2011. Optatives: Deriving desirability from scalar alternatives. In Proceedings of Sinn und Bedeutung 15. Held at Dept. of German Studies, Univ. Saarland, Saarbrücken, Germany, 9–11 September 2010. Edited by Ingo Reich, Eva Horch, and Dennis Pauly, 117–132.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Investigates the semantics of optatives (e.g., If only I were rich), arguing that both optatives with and without overt consequents are conditionals. Offers a pragmatic analysis of modal flavor.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Grosz, Patrick. 2011. Facts and ideals: On the relationship between conditionals and optatives. In Proceedings of Sinn und Bedeutung 15. Held at Dept. of German Studies, Univ. Saarland, Saarbrücken, Germany, 9–11 September 2010. Edited by Ingo Reich, Eva Horch, and Dennis Pauly, 275–290.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Argues that optativity is derived from a “wish” reading available in conditionals and examines the interaction with the semantics of focus particles. Focus is on German data.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Isaacs, James, and Kyle Rawlins. 2008. Conditional questions. Journal of Semantics 25:269–319.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    DOI: 10.1093/jos/ffn003Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    The paper investigates the semantics of conditional questions, which are conditional sentences with interrogative consequents (e.g., If Alfonso comes to the party, will Joanna leave?). The paper proposes to analyze conditional questions combining a dynamic approach to conditionals with a partition semantics for questions.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Kaufmann, Stefan, and Magdalena Schwager. 2011. A unified analysis of conditional imperatives. In Proceedings of SALT 19, Held at Ohio State University, 3–5 April 2009. Edited by Ed Cormany, Satoshi Ito, and David Lutz, 239–256.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      The paper offers a compositional analyses of constructions of the form If you are at an intersection, turn right!, in which an if-clause is combined with an imperative consequent clause.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Rawlins, Kyle. 2013. (Un)conditionals. Natural Language Semantics 40:111–178.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        DOI: 10.1007/s11050-012-9087-0Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        A compositional analysis of unconditionals (e.g., Whoever goes to the party, it will be fun) that links them to classic analyses of if-conditionals. Conditional adjuncts are treated as correlatives. Includes a proposal for both syntax and semantics.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Rifkin, Jay I. 2000. If only if only were if plus only. In Proceedings of the 36th regional meeting of the Chicago Linguistic Society. Edited by Akira Okrent and John P. Boyle, 369–384. Chicago: Chicago Linguistics Society.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          An influential overview of the properties of optative sentences that argues that optatives without overt consequents are not actually conditionals, whereas optatives with overt consequents are.

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