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Conditionals and Discourse

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PI: Prof. Dr. María Biezma, Department of Linguistics, University of Konstanz

Ph.D. Student: N. N.

 

There is growing interest and exciting new research on the integration between discourse and other levels in the construction of meaning. This project appeals to conditional constructions to investigate the role of discourse structure in generating meaning both from a theoretical perspective and through experimental methodologies and corpus work. The project incorporates a cross-linguistic dimension to focus on conditional constructions with meanings that appear to go beyond conventionally conveyed truth-conditions.

In particular, the project concentrates on the phenomena of conditional perfection (observed when the antecedent is understood as providing necessary and sufficient conditions for the consequent to be true, e.g. If you mow the lawn, I’ll give you $5) and optativity (observed in conditionals that give rise to desirability, e.g. If only I were taller, I would play in the NBA).

The overall aim of the project is to formally articulate the relation between conditionals and discourse, both theoretically and through experimental methodologies.