In their book, BD and ES demonstrate their familiarity with the lively debate about conditionals in various disciplines like linguistics, philosophical logic, and psychology.
In our critique we use some observations about Dutch, since the authors express the hope that their analysis of conditionals in English "may be useful (.
First, BD and ES claim that predictive conditionals almost inevitably get a q if and only if p interpretation, and that conditionals that are not used predictively, have no iff inferences (p.
An iff-reading of (13) and of other text samples discussed by BD and ES seems acceptable, but this does not imply that an iff-interpretation always arises with predictive conditionals, or that in using a predictive conditional a speaker always suggests that an iff-interpretation is meant.
Moreover, in our view, even the weaker claim that predictive conditionals invite the (weaker) if not-p, not-q inference can be refuted by counterexamples like (19) which, even though they are predictive, do not invite the weaker if not p, not q reading.
BD and ES argue that distancing in conditionals is connected to predictive use, especially to the building of alternative mental spaces.
Nevertheless, the question can be raised whether speech act conditionals are indeed incompatible with the use of distanced forms in both protasis and apodosis.
Then again, BD and ES might argue that the use of two distanced verb forms in speech act conditionals requires the use of positive-interest would or modal might in the protasis, and does not allow a distanced past tense.
Apodoses with nondeclarative sentence structure are typically not permissible in como conditionals, as the following examples illustrate:
Another important formal restriction on como conditionals is that they cannot occur with resumptive/anaphoric markers (like English then) that introduce the apodosis (see Iatridou 1994; Dancygier and Sweetser 1997; Fretheim 1998 for more discussion of then in conditional sentences).
In section 4 below, a detailed semantic/pragmatic explanation will be put forth to account for these various restrictions on como conditionals.
Although the foregoing examples of como conditionals have all been translated into if in English, there is a certain inaccuracy to this translation.
Prior investigations of the meaning of como conditionals in Spanish are rather few and far between.
Despite the fact that the construction has been generally ignored, one detailed semantic/pragmatic attempt at uncovering the intricacies of como conditionals can be found in Borrego (1980).
Moreover, there is another fact about como conditionals that casts even more doubt on Borrego's "unexpected apodosis" analysis.