Back to list

Detail of contribution

Auteur: Tista BAGCHI

Co-Auteur(s): Anumitra GHOSH-DASTIDAR, University of Delhi, India

Negation and the anti-polarity of focus in Bangla conditionals

Abstract/Résumé: The Indic language Bangla, a.k.a. Bengali, has both participial and finite-protasis conditionals (Bagchi 1991, 1993, 2005), illustrated by the sentences (1a,b). Negation (signaled by the particle /na/ 'no, not') can occur in one or both of the clauses of the conditional, as illustrated by (2a,b), in which both the protasis and the apodosis contain negation. There is, however, a difference in the interpretations of (2a) and (2b), with the negated conditional participle in (2a) conveying the sense of 'unless', which is only optionally there in the finite-protasis conditional (2b). 1. a. tumi ele ami jabo you-nhon come-cond.ppl. I go-fut-1 b. jodi tumi aSo (tObe/ta-hole) ami jabo if you-nhon come-pres-2nhon then/ it-being I go-fut-1 'If you come, I'll go.' 2. a. tumi na ele ami jabo na you-nhon neg come-cond.ppl. I go-fut-1 neg 'Unless you come, I won't go.' b. jodi tumi na aSo (tObe/ta-hole) ami jabo na if you-nhon neg come-pres-2nhon then/it-being I go-fut-1 neg 'If you don't come, I won't go.' When focus-linked clitics such as the emphasizer clitics /+i/ (Dasgupta 1983; Rooth 1985, 1996), which often additionally occurs in the sense of 'only', and /+o/ 'also' (sometimes 'even'), occur in conditionals, certain additional effects of extra-sentential interpretation occur. The occurrence of these clitics with negation in the protasis is not readily licit and is only sanctioned in a rhetorical question conditional, illustrated by the acceptable example (3). 3. jodi tumi na+i aʃo tObe/ta-hole ami kæno jabo if you-nhon neg+emph come-pres-2nhon then/it-being I why go-fut-1 ‘If you don’t come indeed, why should I go?’ However, the role of these clitics in the syntactic representation of the conditional (overall) in which they occur, and especially in the C-I interface representations for such conditionals, is as yet unexamined under a Minimalist approach to these structures found in Bangla. In this paper, we argue that the additional pragmatic and discourse-functional effects to be found in the co-occurrence of emphasizer clitics and negation in Bangla conditionals are closely related to constraints to be found on the co-occurrence of Foc and Neg projections, and that the Foc projection displays some degree of anti-polarity with respect to negation in conditionals and demands to be licensed under the "polarity" of question expressions.