Advertisement

Springer Nature is making SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19 research free. View research | View latest news | Sign up for updates

Doubling unconditionals and relative sluicing

Abstract

Doubling unconditionals are exemplified by the Spanish example Venga quien venga, estaré contento ‘Whoever comes, I’ll be happy’ (lit. ‘Comes who comes, I’ll be happy’). This curious and little studied construction is attested in various forms in a number of Romance and Slavic languages. In this paper, I provide a basic description of these constructions, focusing especially on Spanish, Czech, and Slovenian, and argue that they can be brought in line with analyses of run-of-the-mill unconditionals (of the English type) if one recognizes (1) that the wh-structure within the unconditional antecedent (quien venga ‘who comes’) is a free relative and (2) that the free relative is focused. The focused free relative introduces alternatives and thus gives rise to the denotation proposed by Rawlins (Nat Lang Semant 40(2):111–178, 2013) for English unconditionals. In the last part of the paper, I hypothesize that at least some non-doubling unconditionals could in fact have a doubling underlying structure, which is disguised by relative sluicing—clausal ellipsis with a relative pronoun remnant.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.

References

  1. Abels, Klaus. 2001. The predicate cleft construction in Russian. In Formal approaches to Slavic linguistics (FASL) 9: The Bloomington meeting 2000, ed. Steven Franks, Tracy Holloway King, and Michael Yadroff, 1–18. Ann Arbor, MI: Michigan Slavic Publications.

  2. Aboh, Enoch, and Marina Dyakonova. 2009. Predicate doubling and parallel chains. Lingua 119 (7): 1035–1065. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.lingua.2008.11.004.

  3. Beck, Sigrid. 2006. Intervention effects follow from focus interpretation. Natural Language Semantics 14 (1): 1–56. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11050-005-4532-y.

  4. Beck, Sigrid, and Shin-Sook Kim. 2006. Intervention effects in alternative questions. The Journal of Comparative Germanic Linguistics 9 (3): 165–208. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10828-006-9005-2.

  5. Bickel, Balthasar, Bernard Comrie, and Martin Haspelmath. 2015. The Leipzig glossing rules: Conventions for interlinear morpheme-by-morpheme glosses. University of Leipzig and Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology. https://www.eva.mpg.de/lingua/pdf/Glossing-Rules.pdf. Accessed 4 Nov 2019.

  6. Collins, Chris, and Komlan E. Essizewa. 2007. The syntax of verb focus in Kabiye. In ACAL 37: Selected proceedings of the 37th annual conference on African linguistics, ed. Doris L. Payne and Jaime Peña, 191–203. Somerville, MA: Cascadilla Proceedings Project. http://www.lingref.com/cpp/acal/37/paper1606.pdf. Accessed 4 Nov 2019.

  7. Cruschina, Silvio. 2011. Discourse-related features and functional projections. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

  8. Cruttenden, Alan. 1993. The de-accenting and re-accenting of repeated lexical items. In Working papers 41: ESCA workshop on prosody, lund, September 1993, ed. David House and Paul Touati, 16–19. Lund: Department of Linguistics and Phonetics & The European Speech Communication Association. https://www.isca-speech.org/archive_open/archive_papers/prosody_93/pro3_016.pdf. Accessed 4 Nov 2019.

  9. Eckardt, Regine. 2007. Inherent focus on wh-phrases. In Proceedings of Sinn und Bedeutung 11, ed. Estela Puig-Waldmüller, 209–228. Barcelona: Pompeu Fabra University.

  10. Erlewine, Michael Yoshitaka, and Hadas Kotek. 2015. Relative pronoun pied-piping in English non-restrictive relatives. Manuscript, National University of Singapore and McGill University. https://ling.auf.net/lingbuzz/002700. Accessed 4 Nov 2019.

  11. Franks, Steven, and Catherine Rudin. 2015. Invariant -to in Bulgarian. In Studies in accentology and Slavic linguistics in honor of Ronald F. Feldstein, ed. Miriam Shrager, Edna Andrews, George Fowler, and Steven Franks, 99–136. Bloomington, IN: Slavica.

  12. Gullì, Antonino. 2003. Phrasal reduplication in syntax. PhD dissertation, NYU.

  13. Hagstrom, Paul. 1998. Decomposing questions. PhD dissertation, MIT.

  14. Halm, Tamás. 2016. The grammar of free-choice items in Hungarian. PhD dissertation, Pázmány Péter Catholic University. https://doi.org/10.15774/PPKE.BTK.2016.007.

  15. Hamblin, Charles L. 1973. Questions in Montague English. Foundations of Language 10 (1): 41–53.

  16. Hirsch, Aron. 2016. A compositional semantics for wh-ever free relatives. In Proceedings of Sinn und Bedeutung 20, ed. Nadine Bade, Polina Berezovskaya, and Anthea Schöller, 341–358. http://semanticsarchive.net/sub2015/SeparateArticles/Hirsch-SuB20.pdf. Accessed 4 Nov 2019.

  17. Jacobson, Pauline. 1995. On the quantificational force of English free relatives. In Quantification in natural languages, vol. 2, ed. Emmon Bach, Eloise Jelinek, Angelika Kratzer, and Barbara Partee, 451–486. Dordrecht: Kluwer. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-94-017-2817-1_15.

  18. Kandybowicz, Jason. 2008. The grammar of repetition: Nupe grammar at the syntax-phonology interface. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

  19. Keshet, Ezra. 2013. Focus on conditional conjunction. Journal of Semantics 30 (2): 211–256. https://doi.org/10.1093/jos/ffs011.

  20. Kotek, Hadas, and Michael Yoshitaka Erlewine. 2016. Intervention effects in relative pronoun pied-piping: Experimental evidence. In Proceedings of Sinn und Bedeutung 20, ed. Nadine Bade, Polina Berezovskaya, and Anthea Schöller, 448–461. https://semanticsarchive.net/sub2015/SeparateArticles/Kotek-Erlewine-SuB20.pdf. Accessed 4 Nov 2019.

  21. Kratzer, Angelika. 1979. Conditional necessity and possibility. In Semantics from different points of view, ed. Rainer Bäuerle, 117–147. Berlin: Springer.

  22. Kratzer, Angelika. 2012. Modals and conditionals: New and revised perspectives. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

  23. Kratzer, Angelika, and Junko Shimoyama. 2002. Indeterminate pronouns: The view from Japanese. In Proceedings of the third Tokyo conference on psycholinguistics, ed. Yukio Otsu, 1–25. Tokyo: Hituzi Syobo.

  24. Landau, Idan. 2006. Chain resolution in Hebrew V(P)-fronting. Syntax 9 (1): 32–66. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-9612.2006.00084.x.

  25. Lenerz, Jürgen. 1977. Zur Abfolge nominaler Satzglieder im Deutschen. Tübingen: Narr.

  26. Lipták, Anikó. 2015. Relative pronouns as sluicing remnants. In Approaches to Hungarian 14: Papers from the 2013 Piliscsaba conference, ed. Katalin É. Kiss, Balázs Surányi and Éva Dékány, 187–207. Amsterdam: John Benjamins. https://doi.org/10.1075/atoh.14.08lip.

  27. Lipták, Anikó, and Enoch Aboh. 2013. Sluicing inside relatives: The case of Gungbe. In Linguistics in the Netherlands 2013, ed. Suzanne Aalberse and Anita Auer, 102–118. Amsterdam: John Benjamins. https://doi.org/10.1075/avt.30.08lip.

  28. Lobeck, Anne. 1995. Ellipsis: Functional heads, licensing, and identification. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

  29. Marušič, Franc, Petra Mišmaš, Vesna Plesničar, and Tina Šuligoj. 2018. Surviving sluicing. In Advances in formal Slavic linguistics 2016, ed. Denisa Lenertová, Roland Meyer, Radek Šimík, and Luka Szucsich, 193–215. Berlin: Language Science Press. https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.2545523.

  30. Merchant, Jason. 2001. The syntax of silence: Sluicing, islands, and the theory of ellipsis. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

  31. Pancheva Izvorski, Roumyana. 2000. Free relatives and related matters. PhD dissertation, University of Pennsylvania.

  32. Quer, Josep. 1998. Mood at the interface. PhD dissertation, Utrecht University.

  33. Quer, Josep, and Luis Vicente. 2009. Semantically triggered verb doubling in Spanish unconditionals. Handout from the 19th Colloquium on Generative Grammar (CGG19), Vitoria-Gasteiz, April 2009.

  34. Ramchand, Gillian. 1997. Questions, polarity, and alternative semantics. In NELS 27: Proceedings of the 27th annual meeting of the North East Linguistic Society, 383–396. Amherst, MA: GLSA Publications.

  35. Rawlins, Kyle. 2008. (Un)conditionals: An investigation in the syntax and semantics of conditional structures. PhD dissertation, UCSC.

  36. Rawlins, Kyle. 2013. (Un)conditionals. Natural Language Semantics 40 (2): 111–178. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11050-012-9087-0.

  37. Rizzi, Luigi. 1997. The fine structure of the left periphery. In Elements of grammar: A handbook of generative syntax, ed. Liliane Haegeman, 281–337. Dordrecht: Kluwer.

  38. Rodrigues, Cilene, Nevins Andrew, and Vicente Luis. 2009. Cleaving the interactions between sluicing and preposition stranding. In Romance languages and linguistic theory 2006: Selected papers from Going Romance, Amsterdam, December 2006, ed. Danièle Torck and W. Leo Wetzels, 175–198. Amsterdam: John Benjamins. https://doi.org/10.1075/cilt.303.11rod.

  39. Roeder, Carolin F., and Björn Hansen. 2006. Modals in contemporary Slovene. In Wiener Slavistisches Jahrbuch 52, 153–170. Vienna. https://doi.org/10.1553/wsj52s153.

  40. Rooth, Mats. 1992. A theory of focus interpretation. Natural Language Semantics 1 (1): 75–116. https://doi.org/10.1007/BF02342617.

  41. Rudin, Catherine. 2014. Sorting out -to and -što: Bulgarian and Macedonian relative markers. In New insights into Slavic linguistics, ed. Jacek Witkoś and Sylwester Jaworski, 317–328. Frankfurt a.M.: Peter Lang.

  42. Schwager, Magdalena. 2005. Exhaustive imperatives. In Proceedings of the fifteenth Amsterdam colloquium, ed. Paul Dekker and M. Franke, 233–238. Amsterdam: University of Amsterdam.

  43. Silvestri, Giuseppina. 2019. Reduplication as a strategy for ever free relatives: Semantic and syntactic observations. In Working papers in linguistics and oriental studies 5, 1–27. Cambridge: University of Cambridge. https://doi.org/10.13128/QULSO-2421-7220-25969.

  44. Šimík, Radek. 2019. On doubling unconditionals. In Of trees and birds: A festschrift for Gisbert Fanselow, ed. Jessica M.M. Brown, Andreas Schmidt, and Marta Wierzba, 155–169. Potsdam: Universitätsverlag Potsdam.

  45. Šimík, Radek, and Marta Wierzba. 2015. The role of givenness, presupposition, and prosody in Czech word order: An experimental study. Semantics & Pragmatics 8 (3): 1–103. https://doi.org/10.3765/sp.8.3.

  46. Šimík, Radek, and Marta Wierzba. 2017. Expression of information structure in West Slavic: Modeling the impact of prosodic and word-order factors. Language 93 (3): 671–709. https://doi.org/10.1353/lan.2017.0040.

  47. Simons, Mandy, Judith Tonhauser, David Beaver, and Craige Roberts. 2011. What projects and why. In SALT 20: Proceedings from the 20th conference on semantics and linguistic theory, ed. Nan Li and David Lutz, 309–327. Ithaca, NY: CLC Publications. https://doi.org/10.3765/salt.v20i0.2584.

  48. Sprouse, Jon. 2006. The accent projection principle: Why the hell not? In University of Pennsylvania working papers in linguistics 12.1: Proceedings of the 29th annual Penn linguistics colloquium, ed. Aviad Eliam, Tatjana Scheffler, and Joshua Tauberer, 349–359. Philadelphia, PA: Penn Libraries. https://repository.upenn.edu/pwpl/vol12/iss1/28. Accessed 4 Nov 2019.

  49. Starr, William B. 2018. Conjoining imperatives and declaratives. In Proceedings of Sinn und Bedeutung 21, ed. Robert Truswell, Chris Cummins, Caroline Heycock, Brian Rabern, and Hannah Rohde, vol. 2, 1159–1176. https://semanticsarchive.net/Archive/DRjNjViN/Starr.pdf. Accessed 4 Nov 2019.

  50. Stegovec, Adrian. 2019. Perspectival control and obviation in directive clauses. Natural Language Semantics 27 (1): 47–94. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11050-019-09150-x.

  51. Szabolcsi, Anna. 2019. Unconditionals and free choice unified. In Proceedings of SALT 29, Linguistic Society of America (to appear).

  52. Truckenbrodt, Hubert. 2012. An analysis of prosodic F-effects in interrogatives: Prosody, syntax, and semantics. Lingua 124: 131–175. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.lingua.2012.06.003.

  53. Vicente, Luis. 2019. Sluicing and its subtypes. In The Oxford handbook of ellipsis, ed. Jeroen van Craenenbroeck and Tanja Temmerman, 479–503. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

  54. von Fintel, Kai, and Sabine Iatridou. 2017. A modest proposal for the meaning of imperatives. In Modality across syntactic categories, ed. Ana Arregui, María Luisa Rivero, and Andrés Salanova, 288–319. New York: Oxford University Press.

Download references

Acknowledgements

The incentive for this research was provided by the invitation of Anikó Lipták and Lisa Cheng to take part in a workshop in memory of Luis Vicente, which took place in July 2018 in Leiden. An earlier version of this paper appeared as Šimík (2019). I would like to express my gratitude to the following people, who have provided me with data and/or valuable content-related feedback: Matt Barros, Anikó Lipták, Josep Quer, Adrian Stegovec, and Anna Szabolcsi. Last but not least, I am grateful to two anonymous reviewers, whose comments led to notable improvements, and to Christine Bartels for her careful copyediting and language correction. All remaining errors are my own. The research was supported by the German Research Foundation (DFG) via the project ‘Definiteness in articleless Slavic languages’ granted to the author.

Author information

Correspondence to Radek Šimík.

Additional information

Publisher's Note

Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.

In memory of Luis Vicente H†2018.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Šimík, R. Doubling unconditionals and relative sluicing. Nat Lang Semantics (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11050-019-09157-4

Download citation

Keywords

  • Unconditionals
  • Free relatives
  • Focus
  • Relative sluicing
  • Imperative
  • Subjunctive