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Subordinate unless-clauses: Croatian and Slovenian in comparison to English / Ilc, Gašper ; Zovko Dinković, Irena.

By: Ilc, Gašper.
Contributor(s): Zovko Dinković, Irena [aut].
Material type: materialTypeLabelArticlePublisher: 2018Description: .Other title: Subordinate unless-clauses: Croatian and Slovenian in comparison to English [Naslov na engleskom:].Subject(s): 6.03 | subordinate clauses, unless-clauses, exceptive conditionals, expletive negation | subordinate clauses, unless-clauses, exceptive conditionals, expletive negation In: 6. Hrvatski sintaktički dani: Sintaksa složene rečenice; Osijek, Hrvatska, 17-19.05.2018Summary: The complex subordinator unless (Cr. osim ako ; Sl. razen če) introduces subordinate conditional clauses carrying exceptive meaning. It is usually assumed that unless-clauses are akin to (and replaceable by) negative if-clauses, with the choice of one over the other being governed by semantic and pragmatic factors. This paper investigates subordinate unless-clauses in Croatian and Slovenian in comparison to English, primarily with regard to their interpretation, the possibility of expressing hypothetical and factual meanings, and the occurrence of expletive negation. In doing so we present some of the earlier approaches, which center around the nature of the expressed condition or seek to determine the semantic contribution of unless-clauses in quantificational contexts, either treating it as an exceptive operator on quantifier domains, or arguing for a presuppositional (and pragmatically motivated) account of conditional strengthening on unless. Based on the data collected from referential corpora of Croatian, Slovenian and English, we aim to establish not only the similarities that exist regarding unless-clauses across the three languages, but also some significant differences. As opposed to Croatian and Slovenian, English unless-clauses cannot express hypothetical meanings (i.e. they do not allow conditional forms in the main clause): (1) Došao bih na predstavljanje knjige, osim ako ne bi bila/ne bude velika gužva. Doći ću na predstavljanje knjige, osim ako ne bi bila/ne bude velika gužva. (2) Prišel bi na predstavitev knjige, razen če ne bi bila/ne bo velika množica. Prišel bom na predstavitev knjige, razen če ne bi bila/ne bo velika množica. (3) *I’d come to the book presentation, unless there’s a huge crowd. I’ll come to the book presentation unless there’s a huge crowd. In all three languages unless-clauses may take the initial position in a sentence. As for the occurrence of expletive negation in unless-clauses, it rarely appears in English, while in Croatian and Slovenian it is common but completely optional, with Slovenian displaying both properties of expletive negation – the assignment of the Genitive of negation and no licensing of n-words – and Croatian only one (no n-word licensing). We conclude that unless-clauses are an example par excellence of the fine-grained interplay of syntax, semantics and pragmatics, which primarily mediates the speaker’s communicative needs and intentions.
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The complex subordinator unless (Cr. osim ako ; Sl. razen če) introduces subordinate conditional clauses carrying exceptive meaning. It is usually assumed that unless-clauses are akin to (and replaceable by) negative if-clauses, with the choice of one over the other being governed by semantic and pragmatic factors. This paper investigates subordinate unless-clauses in Croatian and Slovenian in comparison to English, primarily with regard to their interpretation, the possibility of expressing hypothetical and factual meanings, and the occurrence of expletive negation. In doing so we present some of the earlier approaches, which center around the nature of the expressed condition or seek to determine the semantic contribution of unless-clauses in quantificational contexts, either treating it as an exceptive operator on quantifier domains, or arguing for a presuppositional (and pragmatically motivated) account of conditional strengthening on unless. Based on the data collected from referential corpora of Croatian, Slovenian and English, we aim to establish not only the similarities that exist regarding unless-clauses across the three languages, but also some significant differences. As opposed to Croatian and Slovenian, English unless-clauses cannot express hypothetical meanings (i.e. they do not allow conditional forms in the main clause): (1) Došao bih na predstavljanje knjige, osim ako ne bi bila/ne bude velika gužva. Doći ću na predstavljanje knjige, osim ako ne bi bila/ne bude velika gužva. (2) Prišel bi na predstavitev knjige, razen če ne bi bila/ne bo velika množica. Prišel bom na predstavitev knjige, razen če ne bi bila/ne bo velika množica. (3) *I’d come to the book presentation, unless there’s a huge crowd. I’ll come to the book presentation unless there’s a huge crowd. In all three languages unless-clauses may take the initial position in a sentence. As for the occurrence of expletive negation in unless-clauses, it rarely appears in English, while in Croatian and Slovenian it is common but completely optional, with Slovenian displaying both properties of expletive negation – the assignment of the Genitive of negation and no licensing of n-words – and Croatian only one (no n-word licensing). We conclude that unless-clauses are an example par excellence of the fine-grained interplay of syntax, semantics and pragmatics, which primarily mediates the speaker’s communicative needs and intentions.

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