Dan Everett dan.everett at MAN.AC.UK
Sun Sep 28 09:57:19 UTC 2003


In my last posting, just now re-reading it, I notice that I
inadvertently switched the terms apodosis  (then clause/main clause of
conditional) and prodosis (if clause of conditional).

So the point was that a conditional like: 'if p (prodosis) then q
(apodosis)' is unhelpful as an implicational universal if 'q' is always
true, since when 'q' is true, the implication is true for all values of
'p'. This is an elementary property of logic, which all readers will
already know in principle, though we don't always seem to know it in

In the example I gave,  this means that an implicational universal of
the type 'If a language has nasal vowels, then it will have oral
vowels' is no truer than 'If a language is only spoken by dead people,
then it has oral vowels' or 'If Elvis is still alive, then this
language has oral vowels', etc.

Surprisingly, though, several universals of just this type are happily
ensconced in the literature.


Daniel L. Everett
Professor of Phonetics and Phonology
Postgraduate Admissions Officer
Postgraduate Tutor
Department of Linguistics
University of Manchester
Manchester, UK
M13 9PL 	
Phone: 44-161-275-3158
Department Fax: 44-161-275-3187

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