MLC Seminar

Speaker: Jos Tellings
Title: When 'if' or 'when' are specifying modals
Time: 16:00 - 17:30
Location: F1.15 (ILLC seminar room)

When 'if' or 'when' are specifying modals

Jos Tellings (Utrecht)

In this talk I analyze a construction in which specificational 'namely' takes a modal expression as antecedent, and an if- or when-clause as argument (example: "Working as a filmmaker can be taxing, namely if you're required to get sleek product shots"). Such cases do not satisfy previously claimed generalizations about the behavior of 'namely' in Anderbois & Jacobson (2018) and Onea (2016). Moreover, they show that modal expressions can raise an implicit question that gets answered by an if/when-clause. Not all types of modals allow this – I argue it is restricted to Portner's (2009) category of "quantificational modals". This work gives insights into the inquisitive character of modal operators: following Portner's (2009) proposal for quantificational modals, we find a difference in inquisitiveness between quantifying over situations and quantifying over worlds.