1 Introduction

Consider the corpus example given in (1) taken from Present-day Polish:

    1. (1)
    1. (NKJP, Dziennik Zachodni, 30/12/2004)
    1. Dzisiaj
    2. today
    1. po
    2. after
    1. południu
    2. midday.loc
    1. mogą
    2. can.3pl
    1. wyjść
    2. go:out.inf
    1. na
    2. on
    1. wolność,
    2. freedom.acc
    1. chyba że
    2. unless
    1. sąd
    2. court
    1. zdecyduje
    2. decide.3sg
    1. inaczej.
    2. differently
    1. ‘They are allowed to be released from the prison today afternoon, unless the court will take a different decision.’

(1) consists of a matrix clause and an embedded clause introduced by the complementizer chyba że corresponding to the English complementizer unless. It has been referred to in the literature as an exceptive clause1 (cf. Geis 1973, Brée 1985, von Fintel 1992, Declerck & Reed 2000 or Fretheim 2006). In general, exceptives are used to express exceptions to generalizations, cf. Reinhart (1991), von Fintel (1993), Moltmann (1995), Arregui (2006), Álvarez (2008), to name but a few. Concretely, (1) can be paraphrased as follows: The prisoners will be released from the prison except that/if the court will/would take a different decision. To put it differently: Let us assume Q to be the proposition of the matrix clause, and P the proposition of the subordinate clause. The subordinate relation between Q and P chyba że establishes (= Q chyba że P) is ‘Q in a case other than P’. The major objective of this article is to to examine chyba-że-clauses at the syntax-semantics interface both from a synchronic and a diachronic perspective. Remarkably, Blümel & Pitsch (2019: 5) argue that the meaning of the embedded clause given in (1) cannot be calculated from the meaning of their component parts in a compositional way. I aim at showing how the morphologically complex complementizer chyba że emerged and why its meaning cannot be analyzed compositionally in contemporary Polish.

This article is structured as follows. To begin with, I discuss the most important syntactic and semantic properties of exceptive clauses in Polish headed by the complementizer chyba że ‘unless’. This is provided in Section 2. Section 3 is concerned with exceptive clauses in older stages of Polish. In Section 4, I provide a novel account of how chyba-że-clauses came into being and account for where their syntactic and semantic properties pointed out in Section 2 come from. In doing so, I also show how chyba ‘except’ and że ‘that’ developed into a complex complementizer, giving rise to an exceptive interpretation. Finally, I conclude the findings in Section 5.

2 Exceptive clauses in Present-day Polish

The main aim of this section is to examine the syntax and semantics of exceptive clauses in Present-day Polish headed by the morphologically complex C-head chyba że ‘unless’. However, first it needs to be proven that chyba że is a frozen complex complementizer. In principle, one could intuitively argue that chyba is employed either as a preposition (= ‘except’) or as a discourse particle (= ‘presumably’) taking a wide scope over the embedded że-clause. As prepositions can select for CPs and discourse particles usually scope over propositions, such an analysis would not be surprising. As it turns out below, though, this view cannot be upheld altogether. Several empirical arguments suggest to reject this kind of analysis.

Firstly, as has been observed by Skibicki (2007: 272), among many others, chyba cannot be dropped:

    1. (2)
    1. *Dzisiaj
    2.   today
    1. po
    2. after
    1. południu
    2. midday.loc
    1. mogą
    2. can.3pl
    1. wyjść
    2. go:out.inf
    1. na
    2. on
    1. wolność,
    2. freedom.acc
    1. że
    2. that
    1. sąd
    2. court
    1. zdecyduje
    2. decide.3sg
    1. inaczej.
    2. differently
    1.    Intended meaning: ‘They are allowed to be released from the prison today afternoon, unless the court will take a different decision.’

The contrast between (1) and (2) illustrates already that chyba cannot be analyzed as a discourse particle in (1). Discourse particles are usually considered optional modal elements modifying speech acts and expressing speaker’s attitude towards what is embedded. If chyba in (1) were a discourse particle, one should be able to drop it. This is not the case, though.

Secondly, the declarative complementizer że ‘that’ cannot be replaced by its counterpart ‘that’ occurring mainly in higher register texts:2

    1. (3)
    1. *Dzisiaj
    2.   today
    1. po
    2. after
    1. południu
    2. midday.loc
    1. mogą
    2. can.3pl
    1. wyjść
    2. go:out.inf
    1. na
    2. on
    1. wolność,
    2. freedom.acc
    1. chyba iż
    2. unless
    1. sąd
    2. court
    1. zdecyduje
    2. decide.3sg
    1. inaczej.
    2. differently
    1.    Intended meaning: ‘They are allowed to be released from the prison today afternoon, unless the court will take a different decision.’

Again, if chyba and że would constitute two distinct heads, że would be expected to be replaceable with . One of the anonymous reviewers objects that occasionally one can find cases in which chyba and co-occur:

    1. (4)
    1. odpowiedzialność
    2. responsibility
    1. samorządu
    2. authority.gen
    1. terytorialnego
    2. local
    1. za
    2. for
    1. realizację
    2. realization.acc
    1. przyznanych
    2. assigned
    1. mu
    2. him.dat
    1. zadań,
    2. tasks
    1. chyba
    2. except
    1. that
    1. ustawowo
    2. constitutionally
    1. prawo
    2. right
    1. to
    2. this
    1. mają
    2. have.3pl
    1. przyznane
    2. granted
    1. inne
    2. other
    1. podmioty
    2. bodies
    1. ‘the responsibility of the local authority for the realization of the tasks assigned to it, except when constitutionally this right is granted to other bodies’

I agree that such examples can be attested, but they occur very seldom. A search query in Narodowy Korpus Języka Polskiego yields only 12 occurrences. As native speaker of Polish, I would judge all of them, including (4), as questionable. It might be that authors of these 12 corpus examples can still use chyba as a preposition selecting CPs headed by the declarative complementizer .3

Thirdly, if chyba and że in (1) are taken together to constitute a morphologically complex complementizer expressing an exception, we do not expect chyba to occur in combination with other clause types having a declarative sentence mood in the sense claimed by Portner (1997; 2018), and giving rise to an exceptive meaning. This prediction is borne out:

    1. (5)
    1. (NKJP, Głos Siemiatycz, 2008/10/29)
    1. Jednak
    2. however
    1. chyba
    2. presumably
    1. jeśli
    2. if
    1. pojawiał
    2. appear.l-ptcp.sg.m.hab
    1. się
    2. refl
    1. uczeń
    2. student
    1. mający
    2. having
    1. problem
    2. problems
    1. z
    2. with
    1. narkotykami,
    2. drugs
    1. to
    2. then
    1. był
    2. be.l-ptcp.sg.m
    1. to
    2. this
    1. raczej
    2. rather
    1. ewenement
    2. sensation
    1. w
    2. in
    1. skali
    2. scale
    1. szkoły?
    2. school.gen
    1. ‘However, presumably if a student appeared who had problems with drugs, then this would rather be a sensation by the standards of this school?’

In (5), chyba is used as a discourse particle meaning ‘presumably’ taking scope of the whole conditional clause headed by jeśli ‘if’. But taken together they do not trigger an exceptive meaning. Instead each of them has to be interpreted on its own.4

Finally, the dependency of the subordinate clause given in (1) cannot be attributed only to chyba, as że cannot be omitted, either:

    1. (6)
    1. *Dzisiaj
    2.   today
    1. po
    2. after
    1. południu
    2. midday.loc
    1. mogą
    2. can.3pl
    1. wyjść
    2. go:out.inf
    1. na
    2. on
    1. wolność,
    2. freedom.acc
    1. chyba
    2. except
    1. sąd
    2. court
    1. zdecyduje
    2. decide.3sg
    1. inaczej.
    2. differently
    1.    Intended meaning: ‘They are allowed to be released from the prison today afternoon, unless the court will take a different decision.’

Cross-linguistically, it has been observed that particles of different kinds can grammaticalize into subordination conjunctions. A case in point is the German causal complementizer zumal ‘the more so as’ / ‘especially since’, which developed out of the use as a focus particle in the 17th century:

    1.  
    1. a.
    1. Eine
    2. a
    1. Schwierigkeit
    2. difficulty
    1. stellt
    2. constitute.3sg
    1. für
    2. for
    1. die
    2. the
    1. Asylbewerber
    2. applicants:for:asylum
    1. zur
    2. to:the
    1. Zeit
    2. time
    1. die
    2. the
    1. Sprachbarriere
    2. language:barrier
    1. dar,
    2. vptcl
    1. zumal
    2. the:more:so:as
    1.  
    1. keiner
    2. nobody
    1. Deutsch
    2. German
    1. spricht.
    2. speak.3sg
    1. ‘A difficulty for the applicants for asylum constitutes at the moment the language barrier, the more so as none of them can speak German.’
    1.  
    1. b.
    1. Sorgfältig
    2. carefully
    1. verschloß
    2. close.3sg.pst
    1. er
    2. he
    1. daher
    2. therefore
    1. jeden
    2. every
    1. Abend
    2. evening
    1. seine
    2. his
    1. Thüren
    2. doors
    1. und
    2. and
    1. Läden,
    2. shops
    1. zumal
    2. foc.ptcl
    1. da
    2. because
    1. nur
    2. only
    1. einer
    2. one
    1. seiner
    2. of:his
    1. Sklaven
    2. slaves
    1. dienstfähig
    2. fit:for:duty
    1. war.
    2. be.3sg.pst
    1. ‘Therefore he was closing his doors and shops every evening carefully, in particular because only one of his slaves was fit for duty.’

Accordingly, the subordinate conjunction zumal triggering verb-final position in (7a) is assumed to have evolved from the combination of the additive scalar focus particle zumal and a causal conjunction, as exemplified in (7b). Over time zumal itself began to be used as a subordinate C-head and to trigger the verb final-position without losing its focus interpretation (for a more detailed synchronic and diachronic analysis of zumal-clauses in German, the interested reader is referred to Eberhardt 2017). As (6) convincingly shows, exceptive chyba-że-clauses have not reached this development stage and the declarative complementizer że ‘that’ is still needed to express an exceptive meaning.

Based on what we have seen so far, we can conclude that exceptive clauses in Polish are introduced by the morphologically complex complementizer chyba że ‘unless’. Its complexity is traced back to two functional heads, the preposition chyba ‘except’ and the declarative complementizer że ‘that’. None of these elements can be replaced or omitted if one intends to express an exceptive meaning. In this context, it is reasonable to investigate syntactic and semantic properties of chyba-że-clauses in Present-day Polish. Before I elaborate on this issue in more detail, I briefly examine the variation of exceptive clauses.

2.1 Variation

As pointed out above, exceptive clauses in Present-day Polish are headed by the morphologically complex C-head chyba że ‘unless’. I repeat the example given in (1) as (8) below:

    1. (8)
    1. Dzisiaj
    2. today
    1. po
    2. after
    1. południu
    2. midday.loc
    1. mogą
    2. can.3pl
    1. wyjść
    2. go:out.inf
    1. na
    2. on
    1. wolność,
    2. freedom.acc
    1. chyba że
    2. unless
    1. sąd
    2. court
    1. zdecyduje
    2. decide.3sg
    1. inaczej.
    2. differently
    1. ‘They are allowed to be released from the prison today afternoon, unless the court will take a different decision.’

The exceptive clause is finite. It consists of the finite perfective verb zdecyduje ‘will decide’ marked for the indicative mood. It is a preferred pattern in Present-day Polish. However and interestingly enough, the conditional clitic by can attach to chyba że:5

    1. (9)
    1. Dzisiaj
    2. today
    1. po
    2. after
    1. południu
    2. midday.loc
    1. mogą
    2. can.3pl
    1. wyjść
    2. go:out.inf
    1. na
    2. on
    1. wolność,
    2. freedom.acc
    1. chyba że-by
    2. unless-cond
    1. sąd
    2. court
    1. zadecydował
    2. decide.l-ptcp.sg.m
    1. inaczej.
    2. differently
    1. ‘They are allowed to be released from the prison today afternoon, unless the court would take a different decision.’

The presence of the conditional morphology on the complementizer triggers a morphological change. It turns the finite verb into an l-participle, a common Slavic participle form inflected for number and gender (for more details on complex tense forms in Slavic languages, see Migdalski 2006). Semantically, using by the speaker distances himself/herself from the exception introduced in the embedded clause, and expresses a commitment to a proposition that (s)he may feel safer to defend (cf. Krifka to appear). Although (9) is grammatical in Present-day Polish, it is not used as often as its counterpart with indicative morphology is.

Remarkably, exceptive chyba-żeby-clauses do not force by to occur adjacent to że ‘that’. It can also appear lower in the exceptive clause structure, i.e. either between the subject and the l-participle or on the l-participle itself, as, again, a slightly modified version of (1) shows (see Borsley & Rivero 1994 for more details on mobile inflection in Polish):

    1. (10)
    1. Dzisiaj
    2. today
    1. po
    2. after
    1. południu
    2. midday.loc
    1. mogą
    2. can.3pl
    1. wyjść
    2. go:out.inf
    1. na
    2. on
    1. wolność,
    2. freedom.acc
    1. chyba że
    2. unless
    1. sąd
    2. court
    1. (by)
    2. cond
    1. zadecydował(-by)
    2. decide.l-ptcp.sg.m-cond
    1.  
    2.  
    1. inaczej.
    2. differently
    1. ‘They are allowed to be released from the prison today afternoon, unless the court would take a different decision.’

The different position of the conditional morpheme by does not give rise to two distinct interpretations, and the exceptive meaning remains unchanged. The next two corpus examples corroborate the claim that both patterns are still available in Present-day Polish:

    1. (11)
    1. (NKJP, Gazeta Krakowska, 12/4/2002)
    1. Gazem
    2. gas.ins
    1. nie
    2. neg
    1. można
    2. can.pred
    1. się
    2. refl
    1. zatruć,
    2. poison.inf
    1. chyba że-by
    2. unless-cond
    1. była
    2. be.l-ptcp.sg.fem
    1. niesprawna
    2. out:of:order
    1. wentylacja.
    2. ventilation
    1. ‘One cannot get poisoned by gas unless the air ventilation would be out of order.’
    1. (12)
    1. (NKJP, Dziennik Bałtycki, 6/3/2002)
    1. Belgijski
    2. Belgian
    1. chłop
    2. peasant
    1. (…)
    2. (…)
    1. nie
    2. neg
    1. poradziłby
    2. cope:with.l-ptcp.sg.m.cond
    1. sobie,
    2. refl.dat
    1. chyba że
    2. unless
    1. był-by
    2. be.l-ptcp.sg.m-cond
    1. zamożny.
    2. rich
    1. ‘A Belgian peasant wouldn’t cope with (this issue), unless he would be rich.’

Taken all together, we end up with three patterns marking an exception and containing the inherent exceptive complementizer chyba że ‘unless’:

(13) a. chyba że + indicative mood
  b. chyba żeby + l-participle
  c. chyba że + l-participle-(by)

All of them express a case in which an exception to a preceding (or following) statement will or may exist. As for (13a), I take chyba że to be a morphologically complex C-head occupying a single syntactic position. The second variant given in (13b) does not deviate from (13a). The only difference is that the conditional clitic by moves from a lower position and attaches to the C-head. Based on Migdalski (2006), I assume by to be a head base-generated in MoodP. Finally, when by occurs together with an l-participle, it is the l-participle that raises to by:

(14) a. [CP [C0 chyba że] + indicative mood]
  b. [CP [C0 chyba że(by)i] [MoodP [Mood0 ti] + l-participle]
  c. [CP [C0 chyba że] + [MoodP [Mood0 by + l-participlei] ti]

In the next two sections, I examine exceptive clauses in Polish adhering to the view that they should not be considered negative conditionals, and show that chyba-że-clauses have the status of peripheral adverbial clauses in the sense claimed by Frey (2012; 2016; to appear(a)). In doing so, I focus on (13a), i.e. the pattern with indicative morphology, as it is the most common pattern in Present-day Polish.

2.2 Exceptive clauses ≠ negated conditionals

The main objective of this section is to figure out how chyba-że-clauses differ from negated conditional clauses headed by the subordinator jeśli ‘if’. There are several reasons why negated jeśli-conditionals appear to be the most suitable adverbial clause type to be compared with exceptive clauses: i) they are adverbial clauses, ii) they exhibit mood alternation, and iii) – most importantly – they encode exceptions, i.e., the semantics of negated jeśli-conditionals is closely related to the semantics of exceptive chyba-że-clauses (cf. Clark-Clark 1977: 457; Brée 1985; Comrie 1986: 79; Declerck & Reed 2000; Leslie 2009; Nadathur & Lassiter 2014, inter alia). Concretely, what they have in common is negation of all alternatives being formed by substitution of the embedded clause by its alternatives, see Vostrikova (2018) for more details. While discussing selected differences of both clause types, I focus on, jeśli ‘if’, an inherent conditional complementizer disallowing any other interpretations (e.g. temporal) to avoid misunderstandings between any other adverbial clause types. Comparing them will therefore considerably help shed light on exceptive clauses. Based on the contrasts between both clause types, the question to what extent exceptive clauses in Polish are integrated into their host clause will be addressed.

Left periphery: One of the differences refers to the possibility of topicalization or focalization. Whereas chyba-że-clauses are strongly dispreferred on the left periphery of the matrix clause, negated jeśli-conditionals exhibit no restrictions in this respect:

    1. (15)
    1. a.
    1. *Chyba że
    2.   unless
    1. sąd
    2. court
    1. zdecyduje
    2. decide.3sg
    1. inaczej,
    2. differently
    1. dzisiaj
    2. today
    1. po
    2. after
    1. południu
    2. midday.loc
    1. mogą
    2. may.3pl
    1. wyjść
    2. go:out.inf
    1. na
    2. on
    1. wolność.
    2. freedom.acc
    1.    Intended structure: ‘Unless the court will take a different decision, they are allowed to be released from prison today afternoon.’
    1.  
    1. b.
    1.   Jeśli
    2.   if
    1. sąd
    2. court
    1. nie
    2. neg
    1. zdecyduje
    2. decide.3sg
    1. inaczej,
    2. differently
    1. dzisiaj
    2. today
    1. po
    2. after
    1. południu
    2. midday.loc
    1. mogą
    2. may.3pl
    1. wyjść
    2. go:out.inf
    1. na
    2. on
    1. wolność.
    2. freedom.acc
    1.   ‘If the court doesn’t take a different decision, they will be allowed to be released from the prison today afternoon.’

A similar observation has been made by Dancygier (1985), who argues that Polish exceptive clauses – as opposed to their English counterparts – cannot be fronted:

    1.  
    1. a.
    1.   Unless I am very much mistaken, she is Spanish.
    1.  
    1. b.
    1. *Chyba że
    2.   unless
    1. się
    2. refl
    1. mylę,
    2. be:mistaken.1sg
    1. ona
    2. she
    1. jest
    2. be.3sg
    1. Hiszpanką.
    2. Spanish
    1.   Intended structure: ‘Unless I am very much mistaken, she is Spanish.’

If one is inclined to assume adverbial clauses to be derived by movement of an operator to the left periphery, as has been suggested in Geis (1970), Citko (2000), Demirdache & Uribe-Etxebarria (2004), Bhatt & Pancheva (2006), Haegeman (2012), to name but a few, one could argue that movement of an exceptive operator to the left periphery is blocked in Polish by an intervening element.

Non-assertive speech acts – questions: Another difference can be observed with regard to root questions. Only jeśli-conditionals can be in the scope of a question operator. Chyba-że-clauses are prohibited in environments associated with root questions:

    1. (17)
    1. a.
    1. *Mogą
    2.   may.3pl
    1. dzisiaj
    2. today
    1. po
    2. after
    1. południu
    2. midday.loc
    1. wyjść
    2. go:out.inf
    1. na
    2. on
    1. wolność,
    2. freedom.acc
    1. chyba że
    2. unless
    1. sąd
    2. court
    1. zdecyduje
    2. decide.3sg
    1. inaczej?
    2. differently
    1.   Intended meaning: ‘Will they be allowed to be released from the prison today afternoon, unless the court doesn’t take a different decision?’
    1.  
    1. b.
    1.   Mogą
    2.   may.3pl
    1. dzisiaj
    2. today
    1. po
    2. after
    1. południu
    2. midday.loc
    1. wyjść
    2. go:out.inf
    1. na
    2. on
    1. wolność,
    2. freedom.acc
    1. jeśli
    2. if
    1. sąd
    2. court
    1. nie
    2. neg
    1. zdecyduje
    2. decide.3sg
    1. inaczej?
    2. differently
    1.   ‘Will they be allowed to be released from the prison today afternoon, if the court doesn’t take a different decision?’

This contrast illustrates that chyba-że-statements presuppose assertive force in the matrix clause, whereas their jeśli-nie-counterparts exhibit no illocutionary restrictions, leading to the conclusion that the exceptive clause cannot be part of a root question.6 Declerck & Reed (2000: 224) illustrate a similar contrast while discussing the semantics of nonirrealis unless-clauses in English (see also Fretheim 2006: 77 for another minimal pair):

(18) (Declerck & Reed 2000: 224, ex. 40a–b)
  a.   Will you help us if John doesn’t ask you to?
  b. *Will you help us unless John asks you to?

Haegeman (2003: 322) shows – mainly based on conditional clauses in English – that they can be divided into two larger groups: i) event conditionals and ii) premise conditionals. Only the former, which are integrated into the host clause, however, can be in the scope of an interrogative operator. Accordingly, event conditionals are taken to be central adverbial clauses, while premise conditionals are treated as peripheral adverbial clauses. Frey (2012; 2016; to appear(a)) observes a similar contrast with respect to adverbial causal clauses in German, and claims that adverbial clauses that cannot become part of a question should be analyzed either as peripheral or as disintegrated adverbial clauses in the typology advocated by Haegeman (2003; 2010; 2012). It follows then that chyba-że-clauses cannot be central adverbial clauses, and at the same time the example (17a) illustrates that they cannot be considered disintegrated adverbial clauses either, as they clearly depend on the assertive force of the matrix clause.

The focus particle tylko ‘only’: Geis (1973: 245–7) observes for English that whereas if-not-clauses can combine with the focus particle only, unless-clauses cannot:

(19) (Geis 1973: 245, ex. 65a–b)
  a.   I will phone you tomorrow only if you don’t phone me today.
  b. *I will phone you tomorrow only unless you phone me today.

Polish patterns with English:

    1. (20)
    1. a.
    1.   Dzisiaj
    2.   today
    1. po
    2. after
    1. południu
    2. midday.loc
    1. mogą
    2. can.3pl
    1. wyjść
    2. go:out.inf
    1. na
    2. on
    1. wolność,
    2. freedom.acc
    1. tylko
    2. only
    1. jeśli
    2. if
    1. sąd
    2. court
    1. nie
    2. neg
    1. zdecyduje
    2. decide.3sg
    1. inaczej.
    2. differently
    1.   ‘They are allowed to be released from the prison today afternoon, only if the court won’t take a different decision.’
    1.  
    1. b.
    1. *Dzisiaj
    2.   today
    1. po
    2. after
    1. południu
    2. midday.loc
    1. mogą
    2. can.3pl
    1. wyjść
    2. go:out.inf
    1. na
    2. on
    1. wolność,
    2. freedom.acc
    1. tylko
    2. only
    1. chyba że
    2. unless
    1. sąd
    2. that
    1. zdecyduje
    2. court
    1. inaczej.
    2. decide.3sg differently
    1.   Intended meaning: ‘They are allowed to be released from the prison today afternoon, only unless the court will take a different decision.’

Geis (1973) argues that that the ungrammaticality of (19b) can be accounted for by postulating some constraint on lexical insertion of unless. This constraint seems to follow from the fact that whereas unless and chyba że express an exception to the validity of the matrix proposition, if … not and jeśli … nie, on the other hand, specify a condition for the matrix proposition. Now, the use of focus particles, i.e. only in English and tylko in Polish, presupposes the existence of a unique condition. This unique condition determines the possible world in which the matrix proposition is true. This is not the case in the exceptive clause where it is the matrix predication that determines the world in which the embedded proposition (= exception) is valid (cf. Brée 1985 and Declerck & Reed 2000). What is interesting about the focus particles is that they cannot occur within the matrix clause. In this context, the picture does not deviate from that one above:

(21) (Declerck & Reed 2000: 224, ex. 39a–b)
  a.   The weekly meeting is only finished before 8 o’clock if it is not John who chairs it. (= Only if it is not John who chairs the weekly meeting is the meeting finished before 8 o’clock.)
  b. *The weekly meeting is only finished before 8 o’clock unless it is John who chairs it. (ungrammatical if the unless-clause is to be the focus of ‘only’)
    1. (22)
    1. a.
    1.   Dzisiaj
    2.   today
    1. po
    2. after
    1. południu
    2. midday.loc
    1. mogą
    2. can.3pl
    1. tylko
    2. only
    1. wyjść
    2. go:out.inf
    1. na
    2. on
    1. wolność,
    2. freedom.acc
    1. jeśli
    2. if
    1. sąd
    2. court
    1. nie
    2. neg
    1. zdecyduje
    2. decide.3sg
    1. inaczej.
    2. differently
    1.   ‘They are allowed to be released from the prison today afternoon, only if the court won’t take a different decision.’
    1.  
    1. b.
    1. *Dzisiaj
    2.   today
    1. po
    2. after
    1. południu
    2. midday.loc
    1. mogą
    2. can.3pl
    1. tylko
    2. only
    1. wyjść
    2. go:out.inf
    1. na
    2. on
    1. wolność,
    2. freedom.acc
    1. chyba że
    2. unless
    1. sąd
    2. court
    1. zdecyduje
    2. decide.3sg
    1. inaczej.
    2. differently
    1.   Intended meaning: ‘They are allowed to be released from the prison today afternoon, only unless the court will take a different decision.’

These contrasts clearly illustrate that exceptive clauses – contrary to negated conditionals – cannot be in the scope of selected matrix clause operators. This, again, leads to the conclusion that exceptive clauses must attach at a higher structural position of the matrix clause.

Emotive predicates: It is well-known that conditional clauses can be used instead of declarative complement clauses occupying one of the argument slots of a matrix verb. Concretely, in (23a) the emotive matrix verb wnerwiać ‘annoy’ selects two arguments: The internal argument is the personal pronoun mnie ‘me’ marked for the Accusative case, the external argument, in turn, is a subject clause headed by the conditional complementizer jeśli ‘if’ (cf. Williams 1974; Fabricius-Hansen 1980; Pullum 1987; Quer 2002; Hinterwimmer 2010; Thompson 2012; Onea 2015; Schwabe 2016, among many others, for possible analyses):

    1. (23)
    1. a.
    1.   Wnerwia
    2.   annoy.3sg
    1. mnie,
    2. me.acc
    1. jeśli
    2. if
    1. sąd
    2. court
    1. nie
    2. neg
    1. mówi
    2. say.3sg
    1. prawdy.
    2. truth.gen
    1.   ‘It annoys me if the court doesn’t say the truth.’
    1.  
    1. b.
    1. *Wnerwia
    2.   annoy.3sg
    1. mnie,
    2. me.acc
    1. chyba że
    2. unless
    1. sąd
    2. court
    1. mówi
    2. say.3sg
    1. prawdę
    2. truth.acc
    1. / nie
    2. / neg
    1. mówi
    2. say.3sg
    1. prawdy.
    2. truth.gen
    1.   ‘It annoys me the court says / doesn’t say the truth.’

Remarkably, exceptive clauses cannot be embedded under emotive predicates and occur as argument clauses, as (23b) convincingly shows. In this regards Polish patterns with English:

(24) (Declerck & Reed 2000: 221, ex. 30a)
  I’ll be sad / happy / satisfied / disappointed / delighted / sorry …
  a. … if that doesn’t happen.
  b. … *unless that happens.

Factual conditionals: Factual conditionals (premise conditionals in Haegeman (2003)’s terms) contain a predetermined truth value. Compare the following example:

(25) (Iatridou 1991: 58, ex. 20)
  A: Bill is very unhappy here.
  B: If he is so unhappy he should leave.

Uttering the B-sentence, the speaker presupposes that person A believes the content of the if-clause to be true. As shown by Declerck & Reed (2000), the use of negated conditionals in factual contexts does not express an exception:

(26) (Declerck & Reed 2000: 222, ex. 33b)
  a.   If he is not rich …
  b. *Unless he is rich …
      … at least he’s honest.

We observe a similar contrast in Polish, too:

    1. (27)
    1. a.
    1.   Przynajmniej
    2.   at:least
    1. jest
    2. be.3sg
    1. szczery,
    2. honest
    1. jeśli
    2. if
    1. nie
    2. neg
    1. jest
    2. be.3sg
    1. bogaty.
    2. rich
    1.   ‘At least he’s honest, if he is not rich.’
    1.  
    1. b.
    1. *Przynajmniej
    2.   at:least
    1. jest
    2. be.3sg
    1. szczery,
    2. honest
    1. chyba że
    2. unless
    1. nie
    2. neg
    1. jest
    2. be.3sg
    1. bogaty.
    2. rich
    1.   Intended meaning: ‘At least he’s honest, unless he is rich.’

What negated factual conditionals express here is a result or a fact. Since this meaning is not compatible with the inherent exceptive complementizer, the ill-formedness of (27b) straightforwardly follows.

A final note is in order here about variable binding. The received wisdom has it that if a quantified NP can bind into a subordinate clause, it indicates that the dependent clause is integrated into its host clause. Accordingly, we expect chyba-że-clauses to disallow variable binding. However, (28) yields the opposite result:

    1. (28)
    1. Prawie
    2. nearly
    1. [każdy
    2. every
    1. pacjent]i
    2. patient
    1. może
    2. may.3sg
    1. opuścić
    2. leave.inf
    1. szpital,
    2. hospital
    1. chyba że
    2. unless
    1. jegoi
    2. his
    1. lekarz
    2. doctor
    1. zadecyduje
    2. decide.3sg
    1. inaczej.
    2. differently
    1. ‘Almost every patient may leave the hospital, unless his doctor will take a different decision.’

This is surprising if we assume a quantifier to be able to bind an agreeing pronoun in the subordinate clause iff the quantifier c-commands the pronoun. Correspondingly, the exceptive clause in (28) is c-commanded by the quantified expression, i.e. by każdy pacjent ‘every patient’, which occupies the matrix Spec, TP position. Such cases clearly speak, at least prima facie, against the analysis proposed in the present article according to which chyba-że-clauses are taken to attach at a higher position in the matrix clause structure. However, examples like (28) do not pose a challenge because they instantiate cases of what has been referred to as modal subordination. Roberts (1987; 1989: 718) defines modal subordination as a “phenomenon wherein the interpretation of a clause α is taken to involve a modal operator whose force is relativized to some set β of contextually given propositions.” What this boils down to is that variable binding does not apply as a diagnostic test determining the status of chyba-że-clauses.

What we have seen so far is that in comparison to negated jeśli-conditionals, chyba-że-clauses appear ‘deficient’. Table 1 summarizes the main findings.

Table 1

Selected differences between exceptive chyba-że-clauses and negated jeśli-conditionals in Present-day Polish.

property exceptive clauses negated conditionals
left periphery +
non-assertive speech acts: questions +
focus particle tylko ‘only’ +
emotive predicates +
factual conditionals +

These differences strongly indicate that exceptive chyba-że-clauses cannot be treated as negated conditionals. The next section shows that chyba-że-clauses are peripheral adverbial clauses, and that they have the internal structure of root clauses equipped with ForceP.

2.3 Exceptive chyba-że-clauses as JudgeP modifiers

In this section, I discuss the external and internal syntax of chyba-że-clauses.

2.3.1 External syntax

As observed in the previous subsection, chyba-że-clauses are not sensitive to elements occurring in the matrix clause. This led us to the conclusion that they are not strongly integrated into the host clause. If this is the case, chyba-że-clauses are expected not to fall in the scope of a matrix negation marker. To illustrate two distinct scope relationships between a matrix negation and an embedded clause, compare the following minimal pair:

(29) (Haiman & Thompson 1984: 517, ex. 13a–b)
  a. They don’t beat us because they love us.
  b. They don’t beat us, because they love us.

At the first glance, (29a) and (29b) do not differ syntactically. There is, however, one main semantic difference. Whereas in (29a) the embedded causal clause is negated indicating that beating takes place – not due to the fact that they love us, in (29b) no beating is involved and only the matrix clause is in the scope of the negation operator. Remarkably, chyba-że-clauses pattern with (29b), as a matrix negation cannot outscope a chyba-że-clause:

    1. (30)
    1. Nie
    2. neg
    1. przyjdę,
    2. drop:by.1sg
    1. chyba że
    2. unless
    1. mnie
    2. me.acc
    1. zaprosisz.
    2. invite.2sg
    1. ‘I won’t drop by unless you invite me.’
    2. a) It is not the case [that I will drop by] unless you invite me.
    3. b) #It is not the case [that I will drop by on condition that you invite me].

The narrow scope of nie in (30) provides evidence for the view that chyba-że-clauses are not sensitive to matrix operators and that they are not integrated clauses. In other words, they must attach above NegP. To determine the attachment height of chyba-że-clauses, it is reasonable to check if they are sensitive to higher modifiers.

Anand & Hacquard (2013) observe that embedding of epistemic modal verbs depends on the lexical semantics of a clause-embedding predicate. Concretely, they show that epistemic modal verbs can appear in complements of attitudes of acceptance, (31a)–(31c), but not in complements of desideratives or directives, (32a)–(32c):

(22) (Anand & Hacquard 2013: 2–3, ex. 1a–2c)
  a. John thinks that Paul has to be innocent. (OKepistemic)
  b. John said that Mary had to be the murder.  
  c. John discovered that Mary had to be the murderer.  
(32) a. John wishes that Paul had to be innocent. (*epistemic)
  b. John wants Paul to have to be the murder.  
  c. John demanded that Paul have to be the murderer.  

To account for this contrast, Anand & Hacquard (2013) divide attitudes, following Bolinger (1968), into two classes: i) representational and ii) non-representational, whereby only the former do quantify over an information state, e.g., a set of beliefs for believe, which epistemic modal verbs can be anaphoric to. Non-representational attitudes, in turn, are taken not to quantify over an information state. In this spirit, Anand & Hacquard (2013) propose Epistemic Licensing Generalization:

(33) (Anand & Hacquard 2013: 3, ex. 4)
  Epistemic Licensing Generalization:
  Epistemic modals are licensed only in representational attitudes.

In this context, Lund & Charnavel (2020: 166) point out that concessive even though-clauses, for example, can be embedded under representational attitude predicates, but not under non-representational ones:

(34) (Lund & Charnavel 2020: 166, ex. 21a–b)
  a. John thinks that Paul went for a walk even though it’s raining (but it’s not actually raining).
  b. John wishes that Paul would go for a walk even though it’s raining (*but it’s not actually raining).

The contrast between (34a) and (34b) shows that even though-clauses pattern with epistemic modal verbs. If they were embedded, the inference that the subordinate clause holds would be cancellable. This is clearly not the case. Czyba-że-clauses behave similarly. They can be embedded under representational attitude predicates (e.g. myśleć ‘think’), but not under non-representational ones (e.g. pragnąć ‘desire’):

    1. (35)
    1. a.
    1. Jacek
    2. Jacek
    1. myśli,
    2. think.3sg
    1. że
    2. that
    1. dzisiaj
    2. today
    1. po
    2. after
    1. południu
    2. midday.loc
    1. mogą
    2. can.3pl
    1. wyjść
    2. go:out.inf
    1. na
    2. on
    1. wolność,
    2. freedom.acc
    1. chyba że
    2. unless
    1. sąd
    2. court
    1. zdecyduje
    2. decide.3sg
    1. inaczej
    2. differently
    1. (ale
    2. but
    1. tak
    2. so
    1. naprawdę
    2. really
    1. to
    2. then
    1. sąd
    2. court
    1. nie
    2. neg
    1. zdecyduje
    2. decide.3.sg
    1. inaczej).
    2. differently
    1. ‘Jacek thinks that they are allowed to be released from the prison today afternoon, unless the court will take a different decision (but in fact the court won’t take a different decision).’
    1.  
    1. b.
    1. Jacek
    2. Jacek
    1. życzy
    2. wish.3sg
    1. sobie,
    2. refl
    1. żeby
    2. that
    1. dzisiaj
    2. today
    1. po
    2. after
    1. południu
    2. midday.loc
    1. wyszli
    2. go:out.l-ptcp.vir
    1. na
    2. on
    1. wolność,
    2. freedom.acc
    1. chyba że
    2. unless
    1. sąd
    2. court
    1. zdecyduje
    2. decide.3sg
    1. inaczej
    2. differently
    1. (*ale
    2.    but
    1. tak
    2. so
    1. naprawdę
    2. really
    1. to
    2. then
    1. sąd
    2. court
    1. nie
    2. neg
    1. zdecyduje
    2. decide.3.sg
    1. inaczej).
    2. differently
    1. ‘Jacek wishes that they would be allowed to be released from the prison today afternoon, unless the court will take a different decision (*but in fact the court won’t take a different decision).’

Lund & Charnavel (2020) assume that even though-clauses attach as EpisP modifiers, i.e., they adjoin to a higher functional projection, to Modepistemic in Cinque’s (1999) terms:

(36) [frankly Moodspeech act [fortunately Moodevaluative [allegedly Moodevidential
  [probably Modepistemic [once T(Past) [then T(Future) [perhaps Moodirrealis
  [necessarily Modnecessity [possibly Modpossibility [usually Asphabitual
  [again Asprepetitive(I) [often Aspfreuentative(I) [intentionally Modvolitional
  [quickly Aspcelerative(I) [already T(Anterior) [no longer Aspterminative
  [still Aspcontinuative [always Aspperfect [just Aspretrospective [soon Aspproximative
  [briefly Aspdurative [characteristically Aspgeneric/progressive [almost Aspprospective
  [completely AspSgCompletive(I) [tutto AspPlCompletive [well Voice
  [fast/early Aspcelerative(II) [again Asprepetitive(II) [often Aspfrequentative(II)
  [completely AspSgCompletive(II) ]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]

Since chyba-że-clauses pattern with even though-clauses, I analyze them, in terms of Krifka’s (to appear) and Frey’s (2020) approach, as JudgeP adjuncts. They are not sensitive to negation or focus operators in the matrix clause, but they do depend on the assertive illocutionary force of the matrix clause, as they cannot modify non-assertive speech acts, and they are embeddable under representational attitude predicates. Following this line of reasoning, I argue that chyba-że-clauses attach at JudgeP of the matrix clause:

(37)

Now, I examine the internal syntax of chyba-że-clauses and argue that they project up to ForceP, as suggested in (37).

2.3.2 Internal syntax

Having determined the attachment height of chyba-że-clauses, I now turn to their internal syntax. Epistemic and evidential adverbs expressing speaker’s attitude towards what is embedded are usually taken to be base-generated within the C-domain (cf. Cinque 1999). The discourse particle chyba ‘presumably’ itself can be classified as an epistemic expression. Using chyba, the speaker indicates that her / his commitment towards the truth of what is embedded is speculative. Accordingly, it contributes to a weaker commitment of the speaker to the proposition. Now, if exceptive chyba-że-clauses are not integrated into the host clause, they are supposed to be able to host discourse particles. This is, however, not the case, as (38) shows:

    1. (38)
    1. Dzisiaj
    2. today
    1. po
    2. after
    1. południu
    2. midday.loc
    1. mogą
    2. can.3pl
    1. wyjść
    2. go:out.inf
    1. na
    2. on
    1. wolność,
    2. freedom.acc
    1. chyba że
    2. unless
    1. (*chyba)
    2.    presumably
    1. sąd
    2. court
    1. (*chyba)
    2.    presumably
    1. zdecyduje
    2. decide.3sg
    1. (*chyba)
    2.    presumably
    1. inaczej.
    2. differently
    1. Intended meaning: ‘They are allowed to be released from the prison today afternoon, unless (presumably) the court (presumably) will take (presumably) a different decision.’

The impossibility of using chyba ‘presumably’ in exceptive clauses headed by chyba że is mainly due to the fact that the original meaning of the homophonous preposition chyba ‘except’ has not been completely bleached when it was recruited for the exceptive clause structure. But if we take chyba-że-clauses to be peripheral adverbial clauses, we also expect them to be able to host other speaker-oriented adverbs. This prediction is borne out:

    1. (39)
    1. Dzisiaj
    2. today
    1. po
    2. after
    1. południu
    2. midday.loc
    1. mogą
    2. can.3pl
    1. wyjść
    2. go:out.inf
    1. na
    2. on
    1. wolność,
    2. freedom.acc
    1. chyba że
    2. unless
    1. sąd
    2. court
    1. może
    2. maybe
    1. /
    2. /
    1. prawdopodobnie
    2. probably
    1. /
    2. /
    1. rzekomo
    2. supposedly
    1. zdecyduje
    2. decide.3sg
    1. inaczej.
    2. differently
    1. ‘They are allowed to be released from the prison today afternoon, unless the court maybe / probably / supposedly will take a different decision.’

In (39), we can find the epistemic adverbs może ‘maybe’ and prawdopodobnie ‘probably’ and the evidential adverb rzekomo ‘supposedly’. In the approach taken by Krifka (to appear) such expressions are analyzed as judgement modifiers base-generated in the functional projection JudgeP placed above TP. Accordingly, chyba-że-clauses are at least JudgePs. In the analysis proposed by Frey (to appear[a]) JudgeP modifiers are weak root phenomena. To fully examine the internal structure of chyba-że-clauses, we need strong root phenomena, i.e. speech act modifiers c-commanding judgement modifiers. A sample of speech act modifiers is given in (40):

(40) jednak ‘however’, nawiasem mówiąc ‘by the way’, innymi słowy ‘in other words’, bądź co bądź ‘anyway’, swoją drogą ‘by the way’, szczerze mówiąc ‘to be honest’

As the next three examples illustrate, they can occur in exceptive chyba-że-clauses:

    1. (41)
    1. a.
    1. Bądź
    2. be.2sg.imper
    1. szczęśliwa,
    2. happy
    1. chyba że
    2. unless
    1. jednak
    2. however
    1. masz
    2. have.2sg
    1. inne
    2. other
    1. plany.
    2. plans
    1. ‘Be happy, unless, however, you have other plans.’7
    1.  
    1. b.
    1. Ponadto
    2. moreover
    1. podczas
    2. during
    1. procesu
    2. process.gen
    1. instalacji
    2. installation.gen
    1. nie
    2. neg
    1. trzeba
    2. need.pred
    1. nic
    2. neg
    1. zmieniać,
    2. change.inf
    1. chyba że,
    2. unless
    1. nawiasem
    2. by the
    1. mówiąc,
    2. way
    1. zgadzasz
    2. agree.2sg
    1. się
    2. refl
    1. na
    2. on
    1. instalację
    2. installation.acc
    1. komponentu
    2. component.gen
    1. Windows NET Framework 3.5.
    2. Windows NET Framework 3.5
    1. ‘Moreover, there is no need to change anything during the installation process, unless, by the way, you agree to install Windows NET Framework 3.5.’8
    1.  
    1. c.
    1. (…)– chyba
    2. (…)– unless
    1. że,
    2.  
    1. innymi
    2. in other
    1. słowy,
    2. words
    1. nie
    2. neg
    1. ma
    2. have.3sg
    1. w
    2. in
    1. nim
    2. him
    1. kompletnie
    2. completely
    1. nic,
    2. neg
    1. czego
    2. what
    1. można
    2. can.pred
    1. byłoby
    2. be.l-ptcp.sg.cond
    1. się
    2. refl
    1. doszukać.
    2. detect.inf
    1. ‘(…)– unless, in other words, there is completely nothing what one could detect.’ (Paweł Jędrzejko, 2008, Płynność i egzystencja, p. 20)

It straightforwardly follows that chyba-że-clauses are subordinate clauses being capable of hosting speech act modifiers, leading to the conclusion that their internal structure is like the one of root clauses, i.e. equipped with ForceP or ActP in Krifka’s terminology.

3 Exceptive clauses in the history Polish

The main aim of this section is to describe the use of chyba in historical stages of Polish. Based on Klemensiewicz (2009), Walczak (1999), and Dziubalska-Koaczyk & Walczak (2010), I distinguish four language stages in the history of Polish as given in Table 2.

Table 2

Historical stages of Polish.

Language period Abbreviation Time period
Old Polish op till 1543
Middle Polish mp 1543–1765
New Polish np 1765–1939
Present-day Polish PdP since 1939

3.1 Etymology

Etymologically, the discourse particle chyba ‘presumably’ must have emerged out of the verb chybić ‘to miss’ / ‘to mistake’ / ‘to lack’ which is still present in PdP:

    1. (42)
    1. Chybiłeś.
    2. miss.l-ptcp.2sg
    1. ‘You missed.’

They can even co-occur which is mainly due to the fact that the verb chybić narrowed down its lexical meaning and cannot mean ‘to lack’ in PdP:

    1. (43)
    1. Chyba
    2. chyba
    1. chybiłeś.
    2. miss.l-ptcp.2sg
    1. ‘Presumably, you missed.’

Furthermore, chyba could also be used as a preposition selecting noun phrases marked for the Genitive case:9

    1. (44)
    1. (Andrzej Glaber, 1535; cit. in Brückner 1927: 188)
    1. wszelkie
    2. every
    1. zwierzę
    2. animal
    1. chyba
    2. chyba
    1. człowieka
    2. man.gen
    1. uszami
    2. ears.ins
    1. rusza
    2. move.3sg
    1. ‘every animal except man moves his ears’

In (44) chyba has a narrow scope and selects the noun człowieka ‘man’. Its meaning can be paraphrased as ‘except’, ‘excluding’. Brückner (1927: 188) mentions the use of chyba as a noun ‘lack of’ which is supposed to have disappeared in the 16th century, and paved the way for the prepositional use. Remarkably, the use of chyba as a preposition disappeared from language use. In PdP poza selecting noun phrases marked for the Instrumental case is used instead of chyba:

    1. (45)
    1. a.
    1. *chyba
    2.   except
    1. człowieka
    2. man.gen
    1.   Intended: ‘except for man’
    1.  
    1. b.
    1.   poza
    2.   except
    1. człowiekiem
    2. man.ins
    1.   ‘except for man’

In Section 4, I show that the use of chyba as a preposition was crucial for the development of exceptive clauses.

3.2 Old Polish (until 1543)

In Korpus tekstów staropolskich (‘Corpus of Old Polish Texts’) containing 17 texts put together by the Polish Academy of Science,10 I could not find any occurrences of chyba indicating that it is absent in the oldest sources, e.g. in Kazania świętokrzyskie ‘The Holy Cross Sermons’ or in Kazania gnieźnieńskie ‘The Sermons of Gniezno’. An independent search query in the PolDi corpus confirms this finding.11 In total, the query yielded 51 occurrences of chyba in five sources, whereby only one of the sources can be considered Old Polish according to the periodization given in Table 2. Pamiętniki Janczara ‘Memoirs of a Janissary’ were written by Konstanty z Ostrowicy and are supposed to have appeared around 1500. The text contains three occurrences of chyba used as a discourse particle (= ‘presumably’). One of the examples is given in (46):

    1. (46)
    1. (PolDi, Pamiętniki Janczara, ≈1500)
    1. chyba
    2. chyba
    1. tego
    2. this
    1. jedno
    2. one
    1. tylko
    2. only
    1. zostawił
    2. leave.l-ptcp.sg.m
    1. ‘presumably he left only this one’

Chyba occurs in front of the clause and takes a wider scope, i.e. over the entire clause. It expresses speaker’s subjective attitude towards what is embedded.

3.3 Middle Polish (1543–1765)

To begin with, I discuss mp data from the PolDi corpus. In principle, in mp exceptive structures the conditional clitic by occurs adjacent to the complementizer że:

    1. (47)
    1. (PolDi, Listy do Marysi, mid-17th century)
    1. a
    2. and
    1. bić
    2. beat.inf
    1. się
    2. refl
    1. cale
    2. altogether
    1. już
    2. already
    1. nie
    2. neg
    1. mamy
    2. have.1pl
    1. z
    2. with
    1. kim,
    2. whom
    1. chyba
    2. chyba
    1. żeby
    2. that-cond
    1. jaki
    2. some
    1. zameczek
    2. castle.dimin
    1.  
    2.  
    1. zastąpił
    2. get.l-ptcp.sg.m
    1. na
    2. on
    1. drodze
    2. way.loc
    1. ‘and there is nobody altogether with whom we could fight, unless a small castle would show up on our way’

Exceptive structures also occur with infinitive verbal heads:

    1. (48)
    1. (PolDi, Listy do Marysi, mid-17th century)
    1. do
    2. till
    1. jesieni
    2. autumn
    1. mnie
    2. me.acc
    1. wytrwać
    2. preserve.inf
    1. niepodobna,
    2. unlikely
    1. chyba
    2. chyba
    1. że-by
    2. that-cond
    1. inną
    2. another
    1. na
    2. on
    1. się
    2. refl
    1. wziąć
    2. take.inf
    1. naturę
    2. nature.acc
    1. ‘it is not likely that I will survive till autumn, unless I would adopt a different nature’

In few cases, though, the conditional morphology is missing. Instead, the indicative mood is used:

    1. (49)
    1. (PolDi, Listy do Marysi, 1668)
    1. poczta
    2. post
    1. francuska
    2. French
    1. do
    2. to
    1. Warszawy
    2. Warsaw
    1. chodzić
    2. go.inf
    1. przestanie,
    2. cease.3sg
    1. chyba
    2. chyba
    1. że
    2. that
    1. sami
    2. alone
    1. kupcy
    2. sellers
    1. (…)
    2. (…)
    1. wynajdą
    2. find:out.3pl
    1. jaki
    2. some
    1. między
    2. among
    1. sobą
    2. refl
    1. sposób
    2. way
    1. ‘the French post to Warsaw will not be delivered, unless sellers themselves (…) find another way among themselves’

The examples presented in (47)–(49) clearly indicate that adverbial exceptive clauses existed already in the mp period. Apart from this, chyba can be also used in other contexts. Łukasz Górnicki (1527–1603) uses it not only in connection with że ‘that’ to introduce an exceptive clause, but also as a preposition:

    1. (50)
    1. (PolDi, Droga do zupełney wolności, Łukasz Górnicki, 1527–1603)
    1. chyba
    2. chyba
    1. na
    2. on
    1. Boże
    2. God
    1. Wstąpienie,
    2. Ascension
    1. nigdzie
    2. neg
    1. wyjechać
    2. go.inf
    1. nie-może
    2. neg-can.3sg
    1. ‘except for the Feast of the Ascension of Jesus Christ, [he] cannot move anywhere’

In Listy do Marysieńki (1665–1683) (‘Letters to Marysieńka’) chyba is attested in 39 contexts. Table 3 shows its distribution. Chyba occurs as a discourse particle, a preposition and in combination with że ‘that’ as an adverbial complementizer.

Table 3

The use of chyba in Listy do Marysieńki.

discourse particle chyba że + verb chyba żeby + verb preposition
25 (64%) 1 (2%) 5 (13%) 8 (21%)

The data extracted from PolDi resemble the use of chyba in another corpus.

In general, I extracted 46 cases from the KorBa corpus, also known as The Baroque Corpus of Polish.12 An overview of how chyba was used in mp is given in Table 4.

Table 4

The use of chyba in the KorBa corpus.

discourse particle chyba że + verb chyba żeby + verb preposition
21 (47%) 4 (7%) 1 (2%) 20 (44%)

Different patterns can be attested. But similar to the situation in PolDi, chyba is predominantly employed as a discourse particle:

    1. (51)
    1. (KorBa, Jędrzej Kitowicz, Pamiętniki, 1743)
    1. chyba
    2. chyba
    1. wtenczas
    2. at:that:time
    1. gdy
    2. when
    1. był
    2. be.l-ptcp.sg.m
    1. chory
    2. sick
    1. ‘presumably at that time when he was sick’

Exceptive structures marked for the indicative mood outnumber their conditional counterparts:

    1. (52)
    1. (KorBa, Akademia dziecinna albo zbiór nauk różnych, 1761)
    1. nie
    2. neg
    1. przechodź
    2. go:by.imper
    1. przed
    2. before
    1. temi
    2. those
    1. któryme-ś
    2. whom-2sg
    1. respekt
    2. respect
    1. winien,
    2. own
    1. chyba
    2. chyba
    1. że
    2. that
    1. tego
    2. his
    1. ciężka
    2. heavy
    1. potrzeba
    2. need
    1. przymusza
    2. force.3sg
    1. ‘don’t go to those whom you have to respect, unless you are forced by a need’

Conditional exceptive clauses with the clitic by adjacent to the complementizer że occur, too:

    1. (53)
    1. (KorBa, Jeremian Niewieściński, Prerogatywa abo wolność mężatkom, 1684–1700)
    1. chyba
    2. chyba
    1. że-by
    2. that-cond
    1. sama
    2. alone
    1. (…)
    2. (…)
    1. powiedzieć
    2. say.inf
    1. raczyła
    2. stoop.l-ptcp.3sg.fem
    1. ‘unless she would stoop to say’

Two additional remarks are in order here.

Firstly, what appears to be interesting is the fact that chyba can occur with other complementizers giving rise to an exceptive interpretation. In (54) the preposition chyba ‘except’ combines with the conditional / temporal complementizer gdy ‘if’ / ‘when’ and with the conditional clitic by. Taken together they render the meaning of the English complementizer unless:

    1. (54)
    1. (KorBa, Jeremian Niewieściński, Prerogatywa abo wolność mężatkom, 1684–1700)
    1. Bo
    2. because
    1. się
    2. refl
    1. takich
    2. such
    1. plotek
    2. rumors
    1. mężom
    2. husbands.dat
    1. swym
    2. their
    1. nie
    2. neg
    1. zwykły
    2. use.l-ptcp.pl.n.vir
    1. małżonki
    2. wives
    1. sprawować,
    2. behave.inf
    1. chyba
    2. chyba
    1. gdy-by
    2. if/when-cond
    1. jeszcze
    2. still
    1. młode
    2. young
    1. i
    2. and
    1. głupie
    2. stupid
    1. były.
    2. be.l-ptcp.pl.n-vir
    1. ‘Because wives usually don’t behave to their husbands this way, unless they are still young and stupid.’

Other complementizers can be attested, as well:

    1. (55)
    1. (Łókasz Górnicki, Dworzanin polski, 1566, Aa5: 8)
    1. chybá
    2. chyba
    1. ieſli
    2. if
    1. mu
    2. him.dat
    1. ſie
    2. refl
    1. cżáſem
    2. sometimes
    1. z
    2. from
    1. okná
    2. window
    1. widzieć
    2. see.inf
    1. dáłá
    2. give.l-ptcp.sg.fem
    1. ‘unless she allowed him to see her from the window sometimes’

Instead of the complementizer że ‘that’, a wh-phrase can follow chyba:

    1. (56)
    1. (Łókasz Górnicki, Dworzanin polski, 1566, E2: 11–13)
    1. Wſzákoż
    2. but
    1. nie-chcę
    2. neg-want.1sg
    1. /
    2. /
    1. áby
    2. that
    1. do
    2. to
    1. tákowey
    2. such
    1. poiedynkiem
    2. duel
    1. bitwy
    2. battle
    1. był
    2. be.l-ptcp.sg.m
    1. chćiwy
    2. greedy
    1. /
    2. /
    1. chybá
    2. chyba
    1. gdzie-by
    2. where-cond
    1. mu
    2. him.dat
    1.  
    2.  
    1. ſzło
    2. go.l-ptcp.sg.n
    1. o
    2. about
    1. pocżćiwość.
    2. kind-heartedness
    1. ‘But I don’t want him to fight, unless the issue concerns kind-heartedness.’

Note that such constellations are not possible in PdP, neither with indicative morphology nor with conditional morphology:

    1. (57)
    1. *Dzisiaj
    2.   today
    1. po południu
    2. afternoon
    1. mogą
    2. may.3pl
    1. wyjść
    2. go:out.inf
    1. na
    2. on
    1. wolność,
    2. freedom
    1. chyba
    2. chyba
    1. gdy(-by)
    2. if / when-cond
    1. /
    2. /
    1. jeśli(-by)
    2. if-cond
    1. /
    2. /
    1. gdzie(-by)
    2. where-cond
    1. sąd
    2. court
    1. zdecyduje
    2. decide.3sg
    1. /
    2. /
    1. zdecydował
    2. decide.l-ptcp.sg.m
    1. inaczej.
    2. differently
    1.   Intended meaning: ‘They are allowed to be released from the prison today afternoon, unless the court will take a different decision.’

This contrast reveals one considerable issue: In mp – as well as in op – the exceptive meaning does not come about the inherent complementizer chyba że ‘unless’, as is the case in contemporary Polish. Rather, it is due to the compositional meaning of the preposition chyba ‘except’ and the following complementizer that in older stages of Polish was not restricted to the declarative complementizer że ‘that.’

Secondly, chyba as a preposition can combine with the conditional clitic by and have both a narrow and a wider (= propositional) scope:

    1. (58)
    1. (KorBa, Rozmowa dwóch szlachty, 1733)
    1. ale
    2. but
    1. z
    2. with
    1. nim
    2. him
    1. na
    2. on
    1. plac
    2. square
    1. jeszcze
    2. yet
    1. nie
    2. neg
    1. wyjeżdżają,
    2. go:out.3pl
    1. ten
    2. this
    1. cale
    2. altogether
    1. u
    2. at
    1. dam
    2. ladies
    1. polskich
    2. Polish
    1. nie
    2. neg
    1. ma
    2. have.3sg
    1.  
    2.  
    1. estymacji,
    2. estimation.gen
    1. [chyba-by
    2. chyba-cond
    1. [PP
    2.  
    1. u
    2. at
    1. starych]]
    2. old
    1. ‘they don’t go with him to the square yet, he is not appreciated by Polish ladies, except for the old ones’
    1. (59)
    1. (KorBa, Wojciech Laktański, Czarownica powołana, 1680)
    1. Piąta
    2. fifth
    1. ma
    2. have.3sg
    1. być
    2. be.inf
    1. powołanie
    2. call
    1. abo
    2. or
    1. pomowa
    2. opinion
    1. /
    2. /
    1. nie
    2. neg
    1. tak
    2. so
    1. od
    2. from
    1. tego
    2. this:one
    1. który
    2. who
    1. skarży
    2. accuse.3sg
    1. na
    2. on
    1. niego
    2. him
    1. /
    2. /
    1. ale
    2. but
    1. od
    2. from
    1. drugich
    2. other
    1. ludzi
    2. people
    1. wiary
    2. belief.gen
    1. godnych;
    2. worthy
    1. [chyba-by
    2. chyba-cond
    1. [PartP
    1. były
    2. be.l-ptcp.pl.n.vir
    1. insze
    2. other
    1. jasne
    2. clear
    1. dokumenta]]
    2. documents
    1. /
    2. /
    1. na
    2. on
    1. ten
    2. this
    1. czas
    2. time
    1. tej
    2. this
    1. pomowy
    2. opinion
    1. nie
    2. neg
    1. trzeba.
    2. need.3sg
    1. ‘Fifth, it needs to be a call or an opinion, not from the person who is accusing but from reliable people; unless there would be other documents, in this case an opinion is not needed.’

In both cases, chybaby should be analyzed as a preposition meaning ‘except (for)’. In (58), it combines with the PP u starych ‘by old (people)’. In (59), chybaby embeds a participial complement. Remarkably, in PdP chybaby can only have a propositional scope; it cannot scope over smaller constituents:

    1. (60)
    1. *Nie
    2.   neg
    1. chodzę
    2. go.1sg
    1. na
    2. on
    1. imprezy,
    2. parties
    1. chyba-by
    2. chyba-cond
    1. do
    2. to
    1. Anny.
    2. Anna
    1.   Intended meaning: ‘I don’t go to parties, except for Anna’s parties.’

And even if it takes a propositional scope, it does not mean ‘unless’:

    1. (61)
    1. Nie
    2. neg
    1. chodzę
    2. go.1sg
    1. na
    2. on
    1. imprezy,
    2. parties
    1. chyba-by-m
    2. chyba-cond-1sg
    1. oszalał.
    2. get:crazy.l-ptcp.sg.m
    1. ‘I don’t go to parties, I’d get crazy.’
    2. Intended meaning: *’I don’t go to parties, unless I’d get crazy.’

In other words, the example given in (1) cannot be used in connection with chybaby:

    1. (62)
    1. *Dzisiaj
    2.   today
    1. po południu
    2. afternoon
    1. mogą
    2. may.3pl
    1. wyjść
    2. go:out.inf
    1. na
    2. on
    1. wolność,
    2. freedom
    1. chyba-by
    2. chyba-cond
    1. sąd
    2. court
    1. zdecyduje
    2. decide.3sg
    1. /
    2. /
    1. zdecydował
    2. decide.l-ptcp.sg.m
    1. inaczej.
    2. differently
    1.   Intended meaning: ‘They are allowed to be released from the prison today afternoon, unless the court will take a different decision.’

Based on these differences it is tempting to examine data from np to see how chyba-że-clauses developed.

3.4 New Polish (1765–1939)

I extracted and analyzed 177 chyba-cases from NewCor, a Corpus of 1830–1918 Polish.

The use of chyba as a discourse particle is strongly preferred:

    1. (63)
    1. (NewCor, Jadwiga Papi, Kopciuszek. Powieść dla dorastających panienek, 1886)
    1. muszę
    2. must.1sg
    1. cię
    2. you.acc
    1. chyba
    2. chyba
    1. kochać
    2. love.inf
    1. ‘I must presumably love you’

In selected cases, chyba occurs together with a complementizer, giving rise to an exceptive interpretation. Both conditional and indicative morphology are attested:

    1. (64)
    1. (NewCor, Teodozjusz Krzywicki, Dwa obrazy, 1848)
    1. a
    2. and
    1. dziś
    2. today
    1. po cóż
    2. for what purpose
    1. grać,
    2. play.inf
    1. chyba
    2. chyba
    1. że-by
    2. that-cond
    1. uśpić
    2. put:down.inf
    1. słuchaczy
    2. listeners.acc
    1. ‘and today, what is the purpose of playing? unless you want to put down listeners’
    1. (65)
    1. (NewCor, Teodozjusz Krzywicki, Dwa obrazy, 1848)
    1. chyba
    2. chyba
    1. że
    2. that
    1. duszę
    2. soul
    1. swoją
    2. his
    1. zamknął
    2. close.l-ptcp.sg.m
    1. w
    2. in
    1. tych
    2. this
    1. skrzypcach
    2. violin
    1. ‘unless he closed his soul in this violin’

As opposed to PdP, exceptive structures can still be introduced by chyba and conditional morphemes:

    1. (66)
    1. (NewCor, Stanisław Grudziński, Wbrew opinii, 1881)
    1. chyba
    2. chyba
    1. gdy
    2. if
    1. kto
    2. someone
    1. wspomniał
    2. mention.l-ptcp.sg.m
    1. o
    2. about
    1. żonie
    2. wife
    1. zmarłéj
    2. dead
    1. ‘unless someone mentioned his dead wife’
    1. (67)
    1. (NewCor, Józef Bliziński, Rozbitki: komedja w czterech aktach, 1882)
    1. chyba
    2. chyba
    1. by
    2. cond
    1. m
    2. 1sg
    1. sam
    2. alone
    1. stanął
    2. stand.l-ptcp.sg.m
    1. w
    2. in
    1. miejscu
    2. place.loc
    1. Maurycego
    2. Maurycy.gen
    1. ‘unless I were Maurycy’

The cases (66)–(67) convincingly show that chyba could still be used as a preposition selecting CPs headed by a complementizer. I was not able to find any examples illustrating the occurrence of exceptives introduced by a wh-phrase.

3.5 Interim conclusion

We can recapitulate our diachronic findings as presented in Table 5.

Table 5

The development of exceptive clauses in the history of Polish.

Language period discourse particle preposition chyba-że exceptive structure
Old Polish (until 1543) + + ?
Middle Polish (1543–1765) + + + +
New Polish (1765–1939) + + + +
Present-day Polish (since 1939) + +

What we can conclude from our diachronic findings is that exceptionality was expressed almost in all historical stages of Polish by means of the preposition chyba and the following complementizer which, in turn, could be a declarative complementizer, a conditional subjunction or a wh-phrase. I refer to these structures as exceptive structure in Table 5. Remarkably, they are not available nowadays. The prepositional use of chyba also disappeared from language use in the last century. The dedicated exceptive complementizer chyba że ‘unless’ must have emerged at the earliest in Middle Polish (1543–1765). Recall, in addition, that in Present-day Polish we have three patterns marking exceptionality on the clause level:

(68) a. [CP [C0 chyba że] + indicative mood]
  b. [CP [C0 chyba że(by)i] [MoodP [Mood0 ti] + l-participle]
  c. [CP [C0 chyba że] + [MoodP [Mood0 by + l-participlei] ti]

Diachronically, we can safely assume that (68b) occurred as first in the history of Polish. Then, indicative mood started to be preferred in the exceptive clause, (68a), whereas at the same time (68c) could be used, as well. As the next section shows, it is not surprising that the conditional clitic by contributed to the origin of the inherent exceptive complementizer chyba że ‘unless’.

4 Reanalysis

Typologically, not much is known about how exceptive clauses come into being. Traugott (1997) outlines emergence circumstances of unless-clauses in the history of English. Soltan (2016: 50; fn. 12) mentions in passing that the Egyptian Arabic exceptive particle ʔillaa is a composite form that includes the negation marker laa in its form. But how laa was incorporated into ʔillaa still remains an open issue. Breitbarth (2015) briefly discusses the role of negation in Middle Low German exceptives. In their syntactic approach, Martins et al. (2019) trace back the development of the exceptive marker senão in the history of Portuguese that emerged out of a negated conditional structure. To my knowledge, studies on how chyba-że-clauses came into being are completely missing. It is therefore the main aim of this section to examine the origin and the development of exceptive clauses in Polish.

Based on the data discussed in Section 3, I propose the following development steps of exceptive clauses in Polish.

Step 1: Chyba is used in Old Polish as a preposition meaning ‘except’ and embedding noun phrases marked for the Genitive case. For the sake of clarity, I repeat (44) as (69a):

    1. (69)
    1. a.
    1. (Andrzej Glaber, 1535; cit. in Brückner 1927: 188)
    1. wszelkie
    2. every
    1. zwierzę
    2. animal
    1. chyba
    2. chyba
    1. człowieka
    2. man.gen
    1. uszami
    2. ears.ins
    1. rusza
    2. move.3sg
    1. ‘every animal except man moves his ears’
    1.  
    1. b.

Semantically, chyba introduces an exception and triggers a set of alternatives. By excluding the human being, the speaker assumes the existence of other species moving their ears. In other words, chyba employed as a preposition fulfills already two functions important for the development of exceptive clauses. But to operate on the clausal level, its scope needs to be extended. This is achieved by the use of correlative elements referring to the content of the relative clause modifying these elements:

    1. (70)
    1. a.
    1. (Brückner 1927: 188)
    1. schną
    2. dry.3pl
    1. chyba
    2. chyba
    1. [tego]i
    2. this.gen
    1. [iż-by
    2. that-cond
    1. były
    2. be.l-ptcp
    1. pokrapiane]i
    2. sprinkled
    1. ‘[they] are drying off unless one would sprinkle them’
    1.  
    1. b.

In (70a), chyba is still used as a preposition and its embeds the demonstrative pronoun tego ‘this’ marked for the Genitive case. The demonstrative, in turn, is co-indexed with the following -clause (for further developments of across Slavic languages, see Meyer 2017). The conditional morphology on the complementizer triggers counterfactuality, i.e. the existence of a set of alternatives (Stalnaker 1968; Lewis 1973; von Fintel 2011). What chyba does in this connection is that it picks out the most prominent proposition from the set of alternatives referring to the correlative element tego ‘this’.

Step 2: Chyba does not change its status; it still functions as a preposition, but in addition to NP/DP complements, it can also take CP complements. What is important to keep in mind, though, is that chyba and the complementizer / wh-phrase introducing the subordinate clause do not form a single constituent. Instead, they are to be analyzed as two separate forms:

    1. (71)
    1. a.
    1. (NewCor, Stanisław Grudziński, Wbrew opinii, 1881)
    1. chyba
    2. chyba
    1. gdy
    2. if
    1. kto
    2. someone
    1. wspomniał
    2. mention.l-ptcp.3sg.m
    1. o
    2. about
    1. żonie
    2. wife
    1. zmarłéj
    2. dead
    1. ‘unless someone mentioned his dead wife’
    1.  
    1. b.
    1.  
    1. c.
    1. (Łókasz Górnicki, Dworzanin polski, 1566, E2: 11–13)
    1. chybá
    2. chyba
    1. gdzie-by
    2. where-cond
    1. mu
    2. him.dat
    1. ſzło
    2. go.l-ptcp.sg.n
    1. o
    2. about
    1. pocżćiwość
    2. kind-heartedness
    1. ‘unless the issue concerns kind-heartedness’
    1.  
    1. d.
    1.  
    1. e.
    1. (PolDi, Droga do zupełney wolności, Łukasz Górnicki, 1527–1603)
    1. chyba
    2. chyba
    1. że-by
    2. that-cond
    1. się
    2. refl
    1. tak
    2. so
    1. źle
    2. badly
    1. miał
    2. have.l-ptcp.sg.m
    1. na
    2. on
    1. zdrowiu
    2. health.loc
    1. ‘unless he would be so sick’
    1.  
    1. f.

Accordingly, the declarative complementizer że ‘that’ in (71f) occupies the C head position on its own. Chyba does not belong to the C-domain yet, rather it selects a CP. This stage is also attested cross-linguistically. In Modern German, for example, the preposition außer ‘except’ can take CPs as its complements:

    1. (72)
    1. German
    1.  
    1. a.
    1. (DeReKo, Braunschweiger Zeitung, 5/1/2006)
    1. Montags
    2. Mondays
    1. und
    2. and
    1. dienstags
    2. Tuesdays
    1. bleibt
    2. remain.3sg
    1. die
    2. the
    1. Gaststätte
    2. restaurant
    1. im
    2. in:the
    1. Winter
    2. winter
    1. geschlossen,
    2. closed
    1. [P0
    2.  
    1. außer]
    2. except
    1. [CP
    2.  
    1. wenn
    2. if
    1. sich
    2. refl
    1. Gesellschaften
    2. societies
    1. anmelden].
    2. sign:up.3pl
    1. ‘On Mondays and Tuesdays the restaurant is closed in the winter time, unless societies sign up.’
    1.  
    1. b.
    1. (DeReKo, Salzburger Nachrichten, 28/2/1998)
    1. [S]ie
    2. she
    1. will
    2. want.3sg
    1. mehr
    2. more
    1. überzeugen
    2. convince.inf
    1. als
    2. than
    1. befehlen
    2. command.inf
    1. [P0
    2.  
    1. außer]
    2. except
    1. [CP
    2.  
    1. wo
    2. where
    1. es
    2. it
    1. notwendig
    2. necessary
    1. ist].
    2. be.3sg
    1. ‘She wants to convince more than to command – except where it is necessary.’
    1.  
    1. c.
    1. (DeReKo, Braunschweiger Zeitung, 11/8/2006)
    1. Eigentlich
    2. actually
    1. finde
    2. find.1sg
    1. ich
    2. I
    1. es
    2. it.acc
    1. ziemlich
    2. quite
    1. gut,
    2. good
    1. [P0
    2.  
    1. außer]
    2. except
    1. [CP
    2.  
    1. dass
    2. that
    1. wir
    2. we
    1. so
    2. so
    1. lange
    2. long
    1. unterwegs
    2. underway
    1. sind].
    2. be.1pl
    1. ‘Actually, I find it quite good, except that we are so long on the way.’

Similar to the examples in (71a)–(71e), the German subordinate clauses express an exception and the CP complements are introduced by three different elements: i) by the conditional complementizer wenn ‘if’ in (72a), ii) by the wh-phrase wo ‘where’ in (72b), and iii) by the declarative complementizer dass ‘that’ in (72c). But contrary to the history of Polish, none of these elements grammaticalized with the preposition außer ‘except’ into a morphologically complex C-head. This is mainly due to the fact that German developed another exceptive connective, es sei denn ‘unless’, having also the possibility to scope over CPs (for more diachronic details on es sei denn, see Witzenhausen 2019).

Step 3: From late Middle Polish onwards, chyba and że occur without conditional morphology:

    1. (73)
    1. (PolDi, Listy do Marysi, 1668)
    1. poczta
    2. post
    1. francuska
    2. French
    1. do
    2. to
    1. Warszawy
    2. Warsaw
    1. chodzić
    2. go.inf
    1. przestanie,
    2. cease.3sg
    1. chyba
    2. chyba
    1. że
    2. that
    1. sami
    2. alone
    1. kupcy
    2. sellers
    1. (…)
    2. (…)
    1. wynajdą
    2. find:out.3pl
    1. jaki
    2. some
    1. między
    2. among
    1. sobą
    2. refl
    1. sposób
    2. way
    1. ‘the French post to Warsaw will not be offered, unless sellers themselves (…) find another way among themselves’

I assume (73) to be one of the first cases in which the combination of chyba and że is allowed to be analyzed as a complex C-head, i.e., as an indivisible lexical unit, (74b). In other words, due to head adjunction both functional elements grammaticalized into a single functional head, as illustrated in (74b):

    1. (74)
    1. a.
    1.  
    1. b.

Diachronically, it is not surprising that a preposition becomes a C-head or a part of it; compare, for example, German bis ‘until’ introducing finite temporal clauses or um (lit. ‘around’) ‘in order to’ selecting non-finite purpose clauses (Jędrzejowski 2021) or English for, till, like (van Gelderen 2004: 101–7, 124–5). Blümel & Pitsch (2019: 3–4) give a rich overview of adverbial complementizers containing a preposition in selected Slavic languages. I argue that chyba as a preposition lost its prepositional case feature. If chyba were still a preposition, it would be a case assigner, which is obviously not the case:

    1. (75)
    1. *Dzisiaj
    2.   today
    1. po
    2. after
    1. południu
    2. midday.loc
    1. mogą
    2. can.3pl
    1. wyjść
    2. go:out.inf
    1. na
    2. on
    1. wolność,
    2. freedom.acc
    1. chyba że
    2. unless
    1. sądu
    2. court.gen
    1. zdecyduje
    2. decide.3sg
    1. inaczej.
    2. differently
    1.   Intended: ‘They are allowed to be released from the prison today afternoon, unless the court will take a different decision.’

Following van Gelderen (2010), I assume chyba as a preposition to have lost its [gen]-feature, paving the way for the incorporation into the C-domain and for the adjunction to the declarative complementizer że ‘that’:

(76) P0 [u-phi, gen, i-exception] –> C0 [u-phi, i-exception]

Importantly, it did not loss its all features though. It keeps the interpretable feature [+exception], and changes its uninterpretable feature associated with selectional requirements (cf. P-heads taking DPs as their complements vs. C-heads taking TPs; see also Roussou 2020).

Furthermore, the following steps deserve to be accounted for. Prior to the mp period exceptive structures must have required the preposition chyba ‘except’ selecting a CP complement. The conditional clitic by climbed up in the structure to join the complementizer. Taken together they compositionally gave rise to exceptive meaning which has been accommodated over time. First instances of this change are to be observed from Middle Polish onwards, as (73) clearly illustrates. Of course, it does not mean that the original structure with the conditional clitic by automatically disappeared. Quite the contrary, it co-exists next to the structure with the inherent complementizer chyba że ‘unless’. But once the accommodation has taken place, the movement of the clitic by is not needed any longer. It can remain in-situ and attracts an l-participle. This scenario reminds of a cycle in the sense advocated by van Gelderen (2009, 2011:3), whereby “toward the end of the cycle, similar events start again, but they are (slightly) different and happen at a difference pace”. What the conditional clitic by does is the same in both patterns: It introduces a set of alternatives. But whereas in older stages of Polish it goes up to the C-head to pave the way for the origin of the exceptive complementizer, in PdP it introduces a set of alternatives in relation to the exceptive clause. In this case, it is not required to move as high as the C-head is base-generated. This scenario has also another conceptual advantage. No radical reanalysis of the sentence boundary needs to be postulated as both chyba and że were constituents of the second clause before and after the reanaylsis. They did not change their positions on the surface. Only the status of chyba changed from that of a preposition to part of a complementizer. Main evidence for this view comes from two observations made at the beginning of the present article, viz. that że in chyba że cannot be replaced by any other complementizer and that chyba cannot be dropped.

Step 4: The status of the complex single complementizer makes the conditional morphology redundant. Conditional morphology introduces a silent set of alternatives, and so does the exceptive complementizer chyba że. As Vostrikova (2018) convincingly shows, the set of alternatives for a proposition denoted by an exceptive clause and by a negated conditional clause that are negated by an exhaustifier is constructed in the same way. In this sense, the grammaticalized complementizer chyba że prevails, as it incorporates the set of alternatives in its lexical meaning, whereas conditional morphology presupposes such a set. When the set of alternatives is lexically stored, there is no need to introduce it additionally in terms of a presupposition. Accordingly, from the 19th century onwards, the indicative mood is favored in exceptive clauses:

    1. (77)
    1. a.
    1. (NKJP, Dziennik Zachodni, 30/12/2004)
    1. Dzisiaj
    2. today
    1. po południu
    2. afternoon
    1. mogą
    2. may.3pl
    1. wyjść
    2. go:out.inf
    1. na
    2. on
    1. wolność,
    2. freedom
    1. chyba
    2. chyba
    1. że
    2. that
    1. sąd
    2. court
    1. zdecyduje
    2. decide.3sg
    1. inaczej.
    2. differently
    1. ‘They are allowed to be released from prison today afternoon, unless the court will take a different decision.’
    1.  
    1. b.

Exceptive structures containing the preposition chyba ‘except’ and other complementizers than że disappear (but see Footnote 3 above). The preposition chyba ‘except’ itself disappears from language use. Its meaning is covered by the preposition poza ‘except’ and by lexical expressions like z wyjątkiem ‘with the exception of’. The presence of ForceP indicates the possibility of using speech act modifiers, as exemplified in (41a)–(41c). As exceptive chyba-że-clauses project up to ForceP, they are also expected to host epistemic and evidential expressions, i.e., judge modifiers in Krifka’s (to appear) terms. This prediction could be borne out based on examples like the one in (39) discussed in Section 2.3.

5 Conclusion

This article was concerned with the synchrony and diachrony of exceptive clauses in Polish introduced by the morphologically complex complementizer chyba że ‘unless’. Chyba-że-clauses are analyzed as JudgeP adjuncts that depend on the illocutionary force of the entire utterance and that differ from negated conditionals at the syntax-semantics interface in many respects.

Diachronically, I argued that the origin of chyba że was possible due to several syntactic and semantics factors: i) strict structural adjacency of the preposition chyba ‘except’ and the declarative complementizer że ‘that’, ii) movement of the conditional clitic by to the C-domain giving rise to a counterfactual interpretation and triggering a set of alternative worlds, and, finally, iii) scope as well as the truth conditions of the preposition itself. The diachronic data discussed in the present article indicated that the compositional meaning of the conditional clitic and of the preposition were accommodated into the meaning of the exceptive complementizer in the Middle Polish period (1543–1765). Against this background it is therefore tempting to examine the diachrony of exceptive clauses cross-linguistically, as fine-grained analyses depicting individual micro-steps of how exceptive clauses come into being and develop may shed new light on how exceptives behave synchronically.

Primary sources

DeReKo Das Deutsche Referenzkorpus, version 2.3.3, http://www.ids-mannheim.de/cosmas2/.
FP Sebastian Koperski (2015): Fałszywy prorok [‘The Deceitful Prophet’]. Poznań: Zysk i S-ka Wydawnictwo.
KorBa Elektroniczny korpus tekstów polskich z XVII i XVII w. (do 1772 r.) [‘Electronic corpus of 17th and 18th century Polish texts (up to 1772)’ also known as ‘The Baroque Corpus of Polish’]: https://korba.edu.pl/query_corpus/.
NewCor Korpus tekstów z lat 1830-1918 [‘Corpus of 1830-1918 Polish’]: http://korpus19.nlp.ipipan.waw.pl/query_corpus/.
NKJP Narodowy Korpus Języka Polskiego [‘National Corpus of Polish’]: http://www.nkjp.pl/.
PolDi A Polish Diachronic Online Corpus: http://hu.berlin/poldi.

Abbreviations

1/2/3 – 1st/2nd/3rd person, acc – accusative, comp – complementizer, cond – conditional clitic, dat – dative, fem – feminine, foc.ptcl – focus particle, gen – genitive, hab – habitual, imper – imperative mood, inf – infinitive, ins – instrumental, l-ptcpl-participle (inflected for gender and number), loc – locative, m – masculine, neg – negation, n.vir – non-virile, pl – plural, pred – predicative, pst – past tense, refl – reflexive pronoun, sg – singular, vir – virile, vptcl – verb particle.

Notes

  1. Of course, in Polish exist other adverbial clauses that can be labeled, at least from a semantic point of view, as exceptive clauses, as well. Accordingly, we can rephrase the embedded clause given in (1), for instance, by using one of the conditional complementizers and by negating the embedded proposition, as illustrated in the following example: [^]
      1. (i)
      1. Dzisiaj
      2. today
      1. po
      2. after
      1. południu
      2. midday
      1. mogą
      2. can.3pl
      1. wyjść
      2. go:out.inf
      1. na
      2. on
      1. wolność,
      2. freedom.acc
      1. jeśli
      2. if
      1. sąd
      2. court
      1. nie
      2. neg
      1. zdecyduje
      2. decide.3sg
      1. inaczej.
      2. differently
      1. ‘They are allowed to be released from the prison today afternoon, if the court will not take a different decision.’
    [^] In the present study, I restrict myself to exceptive clauses in which the preposition chyba ‘except’ has been incorporated into the clause structure. However, I will compare their syntax with negated conditional clauses headed by the inherent conditional complementizer jeśli ‘if’ in order to capture their striking peculiarities (for more details, see Section 2.2). Interestingly, Fretheim (2006) argues that unless is truth-conditionally identical to if … not, although Geis (1973) delivers a strong battery of reasons not to equate them. I follow the latter view and supports Geis (1973)’s account with Polish data. [^]
  2. In older stages of Polish, in particular in Old Polish, że was used to add emphasis. To introduce embedded clauses one usually employed iże ‘that’ which was originally a relative clause marker (cf. Meyer 2017) and which in some contexts lost the initial vowel i becoming homophonous with the focus particle. Traces of this development can still be observed in Present-day Polish cases in which both elements co-occur: [^]
      1. (i)
      1. (Bański 2000: 99, ex. 77c)
      1. Powiedział,
      2. say.l-ptcp.sg.m
      1. że
      2. comp
      1. że-ście
      2. foc.ptcl-2pl
      1. tam
      2. there
      1. poszli.
      2. go.l-ptcp.pl.vir
      1. ‘He said you had gone there.’
    [^] In (i), the first że is a declarative complementizer introducing a subordinate clause; the second że, in turn, is a focus particle merging with the mobile inflection auxiliary marked for the second person plural. For more details, the interested reader is referred to Decaux (1955), Bański (2000; 2001), Migdalski (2016: 156–157 and 160, fn. 33), among many others. [^]
  3. Notice that the co-occurence of chyba and does not contradict the analysis proposed in this article, quite the contrary: It strongly supports the observation that a preposition and a declarative complementizer can develop into a morphologically complex complementizer introducing an adverbial clause. In Present-day Polish że and introduce mainly complement clauses, whereby the latter is favored in higher registers. This might explain why it was not incorporated into the exceptive clause structure, instead of że. Furthermore, I consulted some younger and older native speakers of Polish and presented them the example given in (1) twice: once with chyba że and another time with chyba iż. All of them – more or less – disliked the latter variant, and considered the former variant most natural. A study based on questionnaire data would shed more light on this variation. I thank one of the anonymous reviewers for an insightful discussion on this issue. [^]
  4. I thank one of the anonymous reviewers who drew my attention to this issue. [^]
  5. Some authors claim that exceptive clauses headed by unless in English cannot be counterfactual, see in particular Geis (1973: 242–3) and Dancygier (1985: 70). Some studies show, though, that this claim cannot be upheld, cf. Whitaker (1970: 155), Fujita (1987), Declerck & Reed (2000: 228–36), and Dancygier (2002). This disagreement does not hold for Polish chyba-że-clauses. [^]
  6. Brée (1985) quotes one of the potential counterexamples: [^]
    (i) How can we have a good city unless we respect morality?
    [^] Brée (1985) himself mentions, however, that (i) is a rhetorical question. As rhetorical questions usually have the structure of a question but the illocutionary force of an assertion, cf. Stalnaker (1978) and Krifka (1995), among many others, such examples do not pose any challenge to the account proposed in the present article. [^]
  7. http://izabelabielicka.pl/badz-szczesliwa-chyba-ze-masz-inne-plany/. [^]
  8. https://pl.telusuri.info/articles/linuxandroid/bluestacks-app-player-emulyator-android-dlya-windows-ustrojstv.html. [^]
  9. I thank one of the anonymous reviewers for bringing up this issue to me. [^]
  10. https://ijp.pan.pl/publikacje-i-materialy/zasoby/korpus-tekstow-staropolskich/. [^]
  11. PolDi is a collection of texts from Polish language history. 40 texts, both from Old and Middle Polish, are supposed to be annotated and integrated into the ANNIS search engine. Unfortunately, I was not able to find any information about how large the corpus is in terms of word counts. According to my understanding, 22 texts are currently searchable. The 51 examples stem from these 22 texts. However, in this section I elaborate only on cases from Old Polish. For more technical details about PolDi, the interested reader is referred to Meyer (2012). [^]
  12. KorBa contains historical texts from the 17th and 18th centuries, consists of 718 texts, counts over 10 million word forms, and is available for free. [^]

Acknowledgements

Some parts of this article were presented at the Forum for Theoretical Linguistics at the University of Oslo (September 2018). For valuable comments as well as for interesting questions, I would like to thank the following colleagues (in alphabetical order): Elena Callegari, Atle Grønn, Patrick G. Grosz, and Christine Meklenborg Salvesen. Many thanks also go to Joanna Błaszczak, Edit Doron, Anna Pia Jordan-Bertinelli, Paula Kleine, Hyungjung Lee, Zarina Levy-Forsythe, Krzysztof Migdalski, Maša Močnik, Victor Junnan Pan, Carlos Muñoz Pérez, Shinya Okano, Sophie Repp, Elyesa Seidel, Radek Šimík, Siri Strømsnes, Klaus von Heusinger, Hedde Zeijlstra, and four anonymous reviewers who provided productive comments that significantly strengthened that work. I dedicate this paper to Edit Doron, a wonderful person to spend time with, who inspired me to work on exceptives cross-linguistically. This article would surely be a much better one if I had been able to follow her suggestions more closely. Last but not least, my thanks go Jonathan Watkins for proofreading. All errors are obviously my own.

Funding Information

This work was in part supported by the Excellence Initiative of the University of Cologne, and by the Daimler and Benz Foundation (grant number 32-06/18).

Competing Interests

The author has no competing interests to declare.

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