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Slavic Grammar from a Formal Perspective

The 10th Anniversary FDSL Conference, Leipzig 2013


Edited By Gerhild Zybatow, Petr Biskup, Marcel Guhl, Claudia Hurtig, Olav Mueller-Reichau and Maria Yastrebova

The proceedings of the 10 th European Conference on Formal Description of Slavic Languages in Leipzig 2013 offer current formal investigations into Slavic morphology, phonology, semantics, syntax and information structure. In addition to papers of the main conference, the volume presents those of two special workshops: «Formal Perspectives and Diachronic Change in Slavic Languages» and «Various Aspects of Heritage Language». The following languages are addressed: Bosnian/Croatian/Serbian (BCS), Bulgarian, Czech, Macedonian, Old Church Slavonic, Polish, Russian, Serbo-Croatian, Resian, Slovak and Slovene.
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Freedom to choose alternatives


← 130 | 131 →Mojmír Dočekal & Hana Strachoňová

Masaryk University, Brno

This article presents a formal semantic account of Czech Free Choice Items (FCIs). The Czech FC series is represented by items derived from the k- root and its allomorphs (common wh-elements) by the -koli(v) affix. The affix seems to encode the freedom of choice, the hallmark of FCI meaning. Let us look at three environments where Czech FCIs appear very frequently. The first environment is that of so called universal concessive conditionals (UCCs), the most frequent sort of construction where Czech FCIs are grammatical. UCCs are exemplified with sentence (1).


Ať jsem se pustil do čehokoliv, všechno mě nudilo. (C1)let aux.1sg refl do.ptc in everything I-acc bored‘Whatever it was I was doing, everything bored me.’

The informal semantics of UCCs can be paraphrased as: whatever option given in the adjunct clause is true, the main sentence is true as well: for (1) whether the speaker was mowing the lawn, reading a book, or doing any other imaginable activity, he was bored.

The second most frequent environment, represented by (2), is the scope of existential modals. Again FCIs intuitively add universal flavour to the meaning of existentially modalized sentences.


V těchto kruzích se může přihodit these circles.loc refl can happen what-koliv‘In these circles, anything can happen.’


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