The Weekly Newsletter of MIT Linguistics

LF Reading Group 4/17 - Hanzhi Zhu (MIT)

Speaker: Hanzhi Zhu (MIT)
Title: Conditionals in although constructions
Date and time: Wednesday, April 18, 1-2pm
Location: 32-D461

In this talk, I’ll be looking at biclausal constructions with although/even though which convey the truth of two propositions as well as the oddness of their juxtaposition:

1. John went out for a walk, even though it’s raining.
2. Although Bailey is rich, she doesn’t give to charity.

The link between although constructions and conditionals has been explored in previous accounts, in which “although p, q” is analyzed as presupposing “normally, if p then ¬q”. However, these accounts ignore the compositional contribution of even, which appears in these constructions in English as well as cross-linguistically. Lund (2017), borrowing from Guerzoni and Lim’s (2007) account of even if, proposes an account in which “although p, q” asserts a conjunction and has a scalar likelihood presupposition: ¬p and q is less likely/expected than p and q. I’ll present a counterexample to this account which favors having a presupposition even closer to Guerzoni and Lim’s proposal for even if: “although p, q” presupposes that if ¬p, q is less likely/expected than if p, q. I’ll also discuss further consequences of this proposal regarding the role of the additive presupposition of even.