LINGUIST List 3.228

Sat 07 Mar 1992

Disc: V and V

Editor for this issue: <>


Directory

  1. "FRANK R. BRANDON", Laugh and the world laughs etc.
  2. Johanna Rubba, Laugh and the world laughs with you

Message 1: Laugh and the world laughs etc.

Date: Fri, 6 Mar 92 13:56 CST
From: "FRANK R. BRANDON" <BRANDONgamma.is.tcu.edu>
Subject: Laugh and the world laughs etc.

On the conditional interpretation of these V and V constructions, I think
it is worthwhile to remember the sequential interpretation of and with
respect to time. The example of my student days was 'Mary married John and
got pregnant' vs. 'Mary got pregnant and married John' (I forget who first
pointed this out -- it was in those days when people were trying to shoehorn
natural language into the existing logics (artificial languages)). Sequential-
ity in time can easily be extended to cause and effect to get the conditional
interpretation. (To get backto artificial languages, I often used to use the
AND of Lisp for conditional operations. I'd say that Prolog does thisin a
hidden way too. It works when AND is tested sequentially and perhaps that
testifies also to the way humans think of this conjunction!).

As to the imperative plus declarative syntax, this is also true in Portuguese,
where (at least in some cases) the subjunctive morphology is unmistakeable
in the first verb: 'Faca isso mais uma vez e eu te mato' (Sorry no accents)
[Do-imperative this once more and I kill-present indic. you] I don't think
very elaborate ellipsis is needed. Excuse my dullness, but why would there
be a problem with the conjunction of an imperative and a declarative?
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Message 2: Laugh and the world laughs with you

Date: Fri, 6 Mar 92 13:49:40 PSTLaugh and the world laughs with you
From: Johanna Rubba <rubbabend.UCSD.EDU>
Subject: Laugh and the world laughs with you


I haven't read the Haiman/Koenig paper, but here are a few off the
cuff observations about these constructions. There certainly seems to
be a relation to imperatives; viz. the German comparative evidence and
the fact that both constructions can have 'you' for emphasis --

You walk out that door and you'll never see me again!

Sentences like these suggest an origin in imperatives, with 'then' lost
(with 'then' I get only an imperative reading on the first part):

Finish your spinach and (then) you can watch "The Simpsons."

Do the dishes and (then) I'll help you with your homework.

Eat your dinner and (then) you can play outside.

As the conditional meaning was gained, the imperative part shifted
to expressing things the speaker expressly doesn't want to happen, or
generic statements like 'laugh and the world laughs with you.' From
that point you have a construction with a meaning distinct from the
imperative.

Interestingly, the sentences with 'then' can be read as having either
the time sense of 'then' or its sense in conditionals.

Jo Rubba, UC San Diego
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