LSA 126: Semantics and pragmatics of conditionals

Eve E. Sweetser | session 1 | TuTh 8:30 – 10:15, 179 Stanley Hall

Conditional constructions have fascinated linguists of many different theoretical backgrounds. Their logical properties, their pragmatic inferential structures, and their grammar have interested — along with descriptive grammarians — philosophers, formal semanticists, pragmaticists, and perhaps most recently researchers in mental spaces theory. Against the background of past logical and pragmatic work, this course offers a mental-space-based framework for construction grammar analysis of conditionals, and a crosslinguistic typological model for comparison of these constructions. Students will be encouraged to develop analyses of their own data alongside those presented in class.

Reading: Barbara Dancygier and Eve Sweetser, Mental Spaces in Grammar: Conditional Constructions and selected materials available online.

Prerequisites: Some familiarity with introductory cognitive linguistics or construction grammar.

Areas of linguistics: Language and thought; Syntax, semantics, and morphology

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