Metalinguistic conditionals and the role of explicit content

Elder, Chi-Hé (2019) Metalinguistic conditionals and the role of explicit content. Linguistics, 57 (6). 1337–1365. ISSN 1613-396X

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Abstract

This paper aims to bridge the relationship between metalinguistic 'if you like' as a non-propositional discourse marker and its conditional counterparts. This paper claims that metalinguistic 'if you like' is polysemous between a hedge that denotes the speaker's reduced commitment to some aspect of the main clause, and an optional yet potential conditional reading that interlocutors can legitimately draw on in interaction which is brought about due to the 'if p, q' sentence form. That is, although the metalinguistic reading is most likely obtained automatically by default, it also carries an available conditional reading that is akin to other metalinguistic conditional clauses such as 'if you see what I mean'. Next, a semantic representation of metalinguistic 'if you like' is developed that takes on board a characterization of conditionality that departs from lexico-grammatical conventions, such that conditionals of the form 'if p, q' no longer bear a one-to-one correspondence with 'conditional' truth conditions. Employing a radical contextualist semantic framework in which the unit of truth-conditional analysis is not constrained to the sentence from, utterances employing metalinguistic 'if you like' are given a semantic representation such that the if-clause does not contribute propositional content, yet they also maintain their status as conditionals as the sentence form gives rise to a potential conditional secondary meaning.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: conceptual conditionals,explicit content,if you like,metalinguistic conditionals,radical contextualism,language and linguistics,linguistics and language ,/dk/atira/pure/subjectarea/asjc/1200/1203
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Arts and Humanities > School of Politics, Philosophy, Language and Communication Studies
University of East Anglia > Faculty of Arts and Humanities > Research Groups > Language and Communication Studies
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Depositing User: Pure Connector
Date Deposited: 16 May 2018 11:30
Last Modified: 19 May 2020 00:01
URI: https://ueaeprints.uea.ac.uk/id/eprint/67079
DOI: 10.1515/ling-2019-0029

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