[Lingtyp] Polarity reversal and counterfactual conditionals

Jesus Francisco Olguin Martinez olguinmartinez at ucsb.edu
Sun Mar 6 02:38:16 UTC 2022

Dear all,

I hope this message finds you well.

As you know, counterfactual conditionals involve *polarity reversal*, that
is, they involve a situation with the opposite polarity to what is marked,
as in the following examples:

1. If I had gone, I would have seen her
[I did not go, I did not see her]

2. If I hadn't gone, I would have not seen her.
[I did go, I did see her]

Polarity reversal tends to be inferred in counterfactual conditionals, as
in the examples shown above. However, there are various languages in which
polarity reversal must be explicitly indicated:

3. If I had gone, I would have seen her, (*BUT) I DID NOT (SEE HER)*.

I have various hypotheses regarding why these languages may indicate
explicitly polarity reversal in this type of construction.

I was wondering if you are aware of any studies that have explored this
domain and/or any languages that have this type of construction.

Thank you very much in advance!

Jesús Olguín Martínez
Ph.D. Candidate, Dept. of Linguistics
*University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB)*
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