We are very happy to announce the next talk in the Semantic Colloquium, which will take place on Thursday, June 13, 4 – 6 pm in IG 4.301.

Kai von Fintel (MIT) will present „The “only” connectives“.


We present work in progress on an understudied phenomenon: the use of exclusives and exceptives as sentential coordinators. Some examples from English:
(1) He is a very nice man, only he talks too much.
(2) I would have helped you, except I had a meeting at work.
Constructions of this kind are attested in several languages.
We explore importing results from the study of adversative coordinators such as English *but*, French *mais*, German *aber*. Questions arise about the relation between the occurrences in (1) and (2) and ordinary uses of exclusives and exceptives as in (3) and (4):
(3) Heather only had one shot on goal.
(4) Every student passed the test except Gordon.
Among other things, we discuss what happens to the focus-sensitivity and the presuppositional asymmetry of ordinary exclusives when they are used as coordinators. Finally, we turn to cases where these coordinators apply to non-declarative illocutionary forces:
(5) I’m happy to go to Oleana’s for dinner, only where is it?
(6) I hope you enjoy your weekend, except please fix the drain!

Since this is work in progress, we especially welcome any and all questions, comments, criticism, and advice.


You are cordially invited!