CIDRAL Roundtable and Masterclass: Professor Kai von Fintel (MIT): 'How to do conditional things with words'
|Dates:||19 October 2016|
|Times:||09:00 - 13:00|
|What is it:||Seminar|
|Organiser:||School of Arts, Languages and Cultures|
|Who is it for:||University staff, Current University students|
This event is part of the CIDRAL programme for Winter 2016, 'Possible Worlds'.
Possible Worlds Round Table, 9-10:30am
Participants will have the opportunity to briefly present a problem or set of data relating to possible worlds in linguistics for discussion with the other participants, as well as to continue to discuss issues arising from Kai von Fintel’s lecture on "if". Everyone is welcome to participate, whether or not you have a particular issue for discussion.
There will be a break for refreshments before the masterclass.
When one asserts a conditional sentence ("if Alex left, Brianna left as well"), when one issues a conditional imperative ("if Charlotte calls, tell her I'm not here!"), when one proposes a conditional bet ("if the die comes up with an even number, I bet it'll be a six"), when one asks a conditional question ("if Dana visits, what should we have for dinner?") are we looking at an unconditional speech act with a conditional content, or at a conditional speech act? I will argue that at least some such cases are indeed conditional speech acts. I set out to provide a compositional, formal analysis of such conditional speech acts. This is not trivial: the theories of conditional sentences that are prevalent in formal semantics and the theories of speech acts prevalent in formal pragmatics do not easily combine to explain the phenomenon of conditional speech acts. We will have to revise both ingredient theories a bit to make them fit together productively. What emerges is a new typology of conditional constructions.
Kai von Fintel is Professor of Linguistics at MIT.
Travel and Contact Information
Samuel Alexander Building