Conjunction and disjunction in a language without 'and'

Margit Bowler


Warlpiri (Pama-Nyungan, Australia) has a single coordinator, manu. This coordinator occurs in constructions of the form P manu Q. In the following paper, I argue that manu has a non-strengthened disjunctive denotation which can undergo pragmatic strengthening to conjunction. I propose that the absence of a conjunctive coordinator in Warlpiri results in the set of scalar alternatives {P, Q, (P or Q)} for P manu Q. This is identical to the set of scalar alternatives for English P or Q proposed by Singh, et al. (2013) for English-speaking children. I follow Singh, et al. in using a recursive application of Fox's (2007) exhaustivity operator, Exh, to derive a strengthened conjunctive reading of P manu Q that is categorical in unembedded contexts. I also address strengthening under the scope of negation and in conditionals and Wh-questions, and place some pragmatic constraints on Exh application.

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