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Institute for Logic, Language and Computation

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21 February 2020, MLC (Meaning, Language and Cognition) seminar, Jos Tellings

Speaker: Jos Tellings
Title: When 'if' or 'when' are specifying modals
Date: Friday 21 February 2020
Time: 16:00-17:30
Location: ILLC Seminar Room F1.15, Science Park 107, Amsterdam

The ILLC has a new lecture series, the Meaning, Language and Cognition (MLC) seminar, presenting research relevant to the Logic and Language group. The first speaker of the MLC seminar will be Jos Tellings (Utrecht), discussing when 'if' or 'when' are specifying modals.

Abstract. In this talk I analyze a construction in which specificational 'namely' takes a modal expression as antecedent, and an if- or when-clause as argument (example: "Working as a filmmaker can be taxing, namely if you're required to get sleek product shots"). Such cases do not satisfy previously claimed generalizations about the behavior of 'namely' in Anderbois & Jacobson (2018) and Onea (2016). Moreover, they show that modal expressions can raise an implicit question that gets answered by an if/when-clause. Not all types of modals allow this – I argue it is restricted to Portner's (2009) category of "quantificational modals". This work gives insights into the inquisitive character of modal operators: following Portner's (2009) proposal for quantificational modals, we find a difference in inquisitiveness between quantifying over situations and quantifying over worlds.

Please note that this newsitem has been archived, and may contain outdated information or links.