S-Space Language Education Institute (언어교육원) Language Research (어학연구) Language Research (어학연구) Volume 21 Number 1/4 (1985)
英語의 修辭條件文에 관하여
On Rhetorical Conditional Sentences in English
- Issue Date
- 서울대학교 언어교육원
- 어학연구, Vol.21 No.3, pp. 255-287
- This paper aims (a) to take a new 1∞k at rhetorical/pseudo conditional sentences in English from a standpoint of the speech act, (b) to distinguish inherent properties of rhetorical conditionals from those of conditionals of different categories, with a variety of sentences containing if-clause scrutinized, (c) to bear up the assertion that the logical structure of rhetorical conditionals can be defined as a form of “([If] you TELL me (it is [PJ]), (I TELL you (it is [QJ])," with some knowledge pertinent to the speech act utilized, (d) to point out that such recently published English dictionaries as LDCE (1978), LDEI (1979), and LDEL (1984) inadvertently make insufficient and improper descriptions of explanations and examples for such idioms as “I’ll eat my hat (if)" and “Blow me if," so that beginning learners of English might have wrong ideas about these idioms, (e) to claim appropriateness for classifying rhetorical conditionals in eight subcategorizations, with syntactic and semantic interpretations taken into due considerations, not simply in two types as Quirk et a1. (1985: 15.37) do, and (f) to prove that such a rhetorical conditional as “If Joe is at thè door, Joe is at the door" is evidently different in its logical structure from the others and that the logical structure of this rhetorical conditional of tautologism might be put in ([If] I TELL you (it is [p]), (1 TELL you again (it is [P]), on the assumption that this tautologism is regarded as a variant form of rhetorical conditionals.
What follows is a skeleton outline of eight subcategorizations of rhetorical conditionals which are set up in this paper. With reference to this we should note that, when dividing rhetorical conditionals according to their characteristics, Quirk et a1. (1985: 15.37) merely give (a) and (b) types and Otto Jespersen (1940: 21.65) only presents ’(c) and (d) types.
Rhetorical/pseudo conditionals are found (when)
(a) If the proposition in the matrix clause is patently absurd, the proposition in the conditional clause is shown to be false: 1f they’re 1rish, 1’m the Pope.
(b) If the proposition in the conditional clause is patently true, the proposition in the matrix clause is shown to be true:
He’s ninety if he’ s a day.
(c) If the propositíon ín the condítional clause is enunciated to point a (sharp) contrast to that in the matrix clause:
If Alaska is the biggest state in the United sates, Rhode Island is the smallest.
(d) If the proposition in the conditional clause is enunciated to show that the proposition in the matrix clause is equally true as well:
If I was a bad carþenter, I was a worse tailor.
(e) If one wants to make a strong assertion of the proposition in the matrix clause: 1f ever there was a stubborn idiot, you’re a prime example.
(f) If one wants to make an explicit statement of the reason for the proposition in the matrix clause:
If he hasn’t married, it is because he was crossed in love in his youth.
(g) If one wants to draw a strong deduction from the situation:
If he acts like that, he’ s a fool.
(h) If one wants to heighten the effect of truthfulness of the proposition in the conditional clause:
If Joe is at the door, Joe is at the door.