On the aorist in conditional antecedents





conditionals, the aorist marker, antecedent clause, consequent clause


This paper aims to render an explanation for the interpretations of the Turkish aorist when it occurs at the antecedent clause of a conditional. I argue that at the main predicate position the aorist marker has two main interpretations, namely the future-oriented and the characterizing ones. However, inside the antecedent clause, these readings are not readily accessible in the way that they are at the consequent clause, i.e., the main predicate of the conditional. I tackle this situation from two different perspectives and layout two proposals. Based on Kratzer’s (1986, 1991) well-known restrictor analysis of conditionals, my first proposal is that the aorist marker is licensed in the antecedent clause only if the consequent clause has one of its matrix clause interpretations. Nonetheless, various examples allow the aorist marker in the antecedent even though the consequent clause has neither the future-oriented nor the characterizing interpretations. Therefore, I change my approach and make a final proposal that satisfactorily describes both the cases that conform to my initial proposal and the ones that do not. I propose that the aorist in the antecedent either sets the evaluation time of the consequent to the future, in line with Schulz’s (2008) analysis or makes a quantification over situations, as von Fintel (1994) argues for. 

Author Biography

  • Bergül Soykan, Boğaziçi University
    Linguistics Department