Meeting on 09/10: Muyi Yang

The Meaning Group will meet on Friday, September 10, 1:15-2:15pm, in Oak 338. Our own Muyi Yang will present her work on Japanese nara-conditionals.

Sensitive to future: the discourse dynamics of Japanese nara-conditionals

This study investigates the felicity condition of Japanese nara-conditionals. It has been observed that such conditionals require discourse-saliency in the sense that the antecedent “always expresses new information that has just entered the consciousness of the speaker at the discourse site” (Akatsuka 1985: 628). Based on novel observations about the sensitivity of nara to different types of preceding discourse moves (e.g., assertions, questions), I show that Akatsuka’s view is not fine-grained enough. I argue that nara-conditionals require that the antecedent be in some possible future context set provided by the actual context, and implement the idea in Farkas & Bruce‚Äôs (2010) Table model. The proposed account makes correct predictions for the interaction between nara-conditionals and (i) directive speech acts, (ii) contrastive strategy of question-answering, and (iii) evidentiality.

For online participation, contact Magdalena Kaufmann.