Complex connectives

Sarah Murray


This paper discusses the interpretation and analysis of several sentential connectives found in Cheyenne (Algonquian), drawing on the author’s fieldwork as well as several collections of texts. Coordinating connectives in English, including and, but, and or, are monomorphemic. In Cheyenne, the basic form used for conjunction is naa. Other connectives are morphologically complex, formed by combining naa with additional morphemes, all of which have independent uses. These complex connectives, and certain uses of naa alone, are challenges for a compositional, truth-functional analysis. In particular, though disjunction is logically weaker than conjunction, two forms for disjunction – naa matȯ=héva and naa mó=héá'e – each contain the conjunction naa. Several recent analyses of similar data argue the basic element is not true conjunction. However, the data in these languages differ from Cheyenne in crucial ways. Building on these analyses, and other work on the semantics of disjunction, this paper proposes an analysis of the Cheyenne connectives that preserves naa as conjunction. Specifically, naa is analyzed as dynamic conjunction, and different from English and in important ways. 

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