Publishing Partner: Cambridge University Press CUP Extra Wiley-Blackwell Publisher Login
amazon logo
More Info


New from Oxford University Press!

ad

Language Planning as a Sociolinguistic Experiment

By: Ernst Jahr

Provides richly detailed insight into the uniqueness of the Norwegian language development. Marks the 200th anniversary of the birth of the Norwegian nation following centuries of Danish rule


New from Cambridge University Press!

ad

Acquiring Phonology: A Cross-Generational Case-Study

By Neil Smith

The study also highlights the constructs of current linguistic theory, arguing for distinctive features and the notion 'onset' and against some of the claims of Optimality Theory and Usage-based accounts.


New from Brill!

ad

Language Production and Interpretation: Linguistics meets Cognition

By Henk Zeevat

The importance of Henk Zeevat's new monograph cannot be overstated. [...] I recommend it to anyone who combines interests in language, logic, and computation [...]. David Beaver, University of Texas at Austin


Summary Details


Query:   Only If
Author:  Annabel Cormack
Submitter Email:  click here to access email
Linguistic LingField(s):   Morphology
Syntax

Summary:   Regarding query: http://www.linguistlist.org/issues/16/16-3025.html#1

We asked if there were any languages having a single-word for reverse
implication, equivalent to English 'only if'.
We are grateful to the following people for suggestions and discussion:

Martin Weisser, Chemnitz Technical University
Janet H. Randall, NEU
Eve Ng, University of Massachusetts
Rob Malouf, San Diego State University
Tadhg O hIfearnain, University of Limerick
Felecia Briscoe UTSA
Heike Wiese, Yale
Jasper Holmes
Zhang Yi, Nanjing University
Boyan Nikolaev
Ulrich Wa├čner, Mannheim
Roger Levy, University of Edinburgh
C. Rowe, HKU Hong Kong
Willy Vandeweghe

Thanks also to Jack Hoeksema (RUG), Hans van de Koot (UCL), Ad Neeleman
(UCL), Yi Xu (UCL).

Some of the suggestions turned out on investigation to correspond
logically
to 'if', rather than 'only if'. We need a connective that patterns with
'only if' in (1), rather than with 'if' in (2):

(1) I'll go only if you go. And maybe not even then.
(2) I'll go {if/provided} you go. #And maybe not even then.

So we seem to have to exclude 'provided/providing' in English,
'vorausgesetzt' and 'falls' (German), 'mura' (Irish), 'chu fei'
(Mandarin),
'ako' (Bulgarian).

We are left with Dutch 'mits', where there seems to be agreement
among our
informants, and Mandarin Chinese 'cai' (tone 2), where at least some
speakers do seem to have a consistent 'only if' interpretation.

Jack Hoeksema writes:

''Regarding MITS: I think it is a bona fide candidate. One of the
reasons I
think so is that it does not appear to be a trigger for strong polarity
items, much like ''only if'', compare
e.g.
*I will ice you only if you so much as lay a finger on her.
*Ik vermoord je mits je haar ook maar met een vinger aanraakt.''

Eve Ng offers the following for Mandarin 'cai':

''Lucy neng zhao-dao ren kan haizi cai neng canjia juhui;
Lucy can find-RESULTATIVE person watch child only.then can attend party
'Lucy can only go to the party if she finds a babysitter'

A) keshi, ruguo Henry bu-neng zai ta, Lucy haishi bu-neng qu.
however if Henry not-can give-ride 3 Lucy still not-can go
'but if Henry can't give her a ride, Lucy still can't go.'

B) *keshi, ta zhao-bu-dao haishi keneng hui qu.
however 3 find-not-RESULTATIVE still maybe will go

and:

Haoma shangshu cai neng bei liu chu-jin.
number even only.then can PASSIVE six divide-complete
'Only if a number is even can it be divided by six.'

Keshi, shangshu de haoma bing bu yiding neng bei liu chu-jin.
however even GENITIVE number PARTICLE not definitely can PASSIVE six
divide-complete
'However, an even number can't necessarily be divided by six.'

_bing_ is hard to translate here; it indicates that the following
clause is
going to be negative, and is optional here, but the sentence sounds
better
with it.''

Any further suggestions and discussion would be welcome.

Larry Horn
Annabel Cormack

LL Issue: 16.3643
Date Posted: 21-Dec-2005


Back

Sums main page