Modals and conditionals in instrumental practical reasoning: The case of Polish

Magdalena Sztencel*, Sarah E. Duffy

*Corresponding author for this work

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This paper investigates the relation between conditionals and modals in Polish. In particular, it looks into whether modalized indirect reports of conditionals – specifically, reports which involve the use of root modality verbs – reflect the number of alternative antecedents foregrounded in the context of the reported conditional utterance. It finds that the root possibility modal mogę is preferred when many alternative antecedents are foregrounded (i.e. when p is interpreted as a sufficient but not necessary condition for q), whereas the root necessity modal muszę is preferred in contexts where there are no alternative antecedents (i.e. when p is interpreted as a necessary condition for q). The results are comparable to those obtained for English (see Sztencel and Duffy 2018), thus providing initial support for their cross-linguistic generalizability. Furthermore, a parallel is drawn between the basic structure of instrumental practical reasoning (e.g. Walton 2007) and modalized indirect reports of conditionals. This parallel offers a rationale for the method of investigating instrumental practical reasoning by the proxy of indirect speech reports.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)447-456
Number of pages10
JournalLinguistics Vanguard
Issue numbers4
Early online date15 Jul 2022
Publication statusPublished - 31 Aug 2022


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