Counteridenticals and dream reports

a unified analysis


  • Carina Kauf



Counteridenticals are counterfactual conditional sentences whose antecedent clauses
contain an identity statement, e.g. If I were you, I’d buy the blue dress. Here, we argue that
counteridenticals are best analyzed along the lines of dream reports. After showing that counteridenticals
and dream reports exhibit striking grammatical and perceptual parallels, we suggest
an analysis of counteridenticals with Percus and Sauerland’s (2003) analysis of dream
reports. Following their proposal, we propose to make use of concept generators, realized as
centered worlds. To this end, we argue that the presence of if licenses the presence of an imagine-
operator, which constitutes the attitude the antecedent clause ‘x be-PAST y’ is taken under;
The speaker predicates, in the imagine mode, the consequent property to his/her imagined self.
To capture the different degrees of identification between the subject and the predicate of the
identity statement of counteridenticals’ antecedents observed in the literature, we incorporate
Percus and Sharvit’s (2014) notion of asymmetric be into the analysis. This proposal has several
advantages over existing analyses (Lakoff, 1996; Kocurek, 2016) of counteridentical meaning,
as it both explains the different degrees of identification observed for counteridenticals and
correctly predicts the parallels between counteridenticals and dream reports.
Keywords: Counteridenticals, counterfactuals, dream reports, pronoun movement





Kauf, Carina. 2018. „Counteridenticals and Dream Reports: A Unified Analysis“. ZAS Papers in Linguistics 61 (Januar):1-18.