Retour vers liste

Détail de la contribution

Auteur: Eva CSIPAK

Factive subjunctives in German

Abstract/Résumé: This talk introduces the notion of free factive subjunctives (FFSs) in German as in (1) and provides an analysis in terms of hidden anankastic conditionals. It also argues that mood determines modal force in anankastics when there is no overt modal. (1) Da waere Pizza im Kuehlschrank ‘There is.SUB pizza in the fridge.’ I call (1) a free factive subjunctive because unlike subjunctives in other languages, (1) is (a) not embedded under another verb and (b) interpreted factively in out-of-the-blue contexts, for example when the speaker can clearly see the contents of the fridge. Kasper (1992) discusses unembedded non-factive subjunctives and proposes to analyze them as the consequents of a hidden counterfactual conditonal. FFSs differ from those subjunctives in two crucial ways. First, FFSs are only felicitous in contexts where certain conditions hold: (a) the prejacent p holds in the actual world, (b) there is a contextually salient decision problem D, and (c) p is decision-theoretically relevant for D. Second, unlike other subjunctives, FFSs also have an offer-like flavour. I propose to analyze (1) as the consequent of a conditional where the antecedent names D, as in (2a). (2) a. If you want to eat something, there is.SUB pizza in the fridge. b. If you want to eat something, there is.IND pizza in the fridge. While (2a) and (2b) look like relevance conditionals, their more specific semantic/pragmatic content is more profitably captured in terms of an anankastic conditional analysis. I assume with Franke (2009) that relevance conditionals are semantically identical to other types of conditionals and receive their ‘relevance’ interpretation through pragmatic reasoning, therefore this is unproblematic. (2a) and (2b) are anankastic-like in that their antecedent introduces a goal and their consequent makes a decision-theoretically relevant contribution towards reaching that goal. The crucial difference between (2) and other anankastics (e.g. (3)) is the lack of an overt modal in the consequent. I propose that mood fills the role of the modal in (2): The subjunctive expresses existential quantification, while the indicative expresses universal quantification. (3) a. If you want to eat something, (you could eat the) pizza in the fridge. b. If you want to eat something, (you should eat the) pizza in the fridge. I extend Condoravdi and Lauer's (2012) analysis of anankastic conditionals to deal with the existential in (3a). The connection between unembedded subjunctives and weak modal force has recently been observed in other languages (e.g. Matthewson (2010) for St’at’imcets). My talk provides evidence that this connection should be explored further.