Semantics Research Group Meeting, March 26, 2010

[Japanese | English]

4:30pm, March 26, 2010
Keio University, Mita Campus,
North Building, First Floor, Conference Room 3.
Kimiko Nakanishi
Factivity of even if and the semantics of even
Even-if-conditionals are known to come in two types; one that implies the consequent and the other that does not. For instance, Even if the bridge were standing, I wouldn’t cross implies that the consequent I wouldn’t cross is true under any circumstances. In contrast, in Even if John drank just a little, she would fire him, the consequent she would fire him may be false (e.g., she may not fire him if John drank nothing). Guerzoni and Lam (2007) account for this difference in “factivity” by examining the semantics of even. More specifically, they argue that factivity of even-if-conditionals follows from the assertion together with the existential presupposition of even. In this talk, I raise various problems to their analysis; most interestingly, I show that the same even-if-conditional may be factive or non-factive depending on the context. I argue that the existential presupposition of even is not a determining factor for factivity, and that scalarity of even is a key to understanding why factivity may vary from sentence to sentence and also from context to context.

Semantics Research Group

Last modified: 2010-03-12 00:04:51 JST