The be going to periphrasis in if-clauses
A comparison with the aller + infinitive periphrasis in French
This paper examines the use of the future periphrases be going to and aller + infinitive in conditional clauses introduced by if and si. Both monolingual and translated data is investigated. It shows that there is no equivalence between the two periphrases in such a constrained syntactic environment. The sequence if + be going to, which is not truly conditional as claimed throughout the analysis, is frequent in contemporary English, whereas aller + infinitive is hardly compatible with conditionals. Be going to in if-clauses is thus mainly translated by devoir, which emphasizes the inevitability component of the English periphrasis, or by vouloir when the intentional meaning of be going to is foregrounded. It is nevertheless argued that aller + infinitive can occur in conditionals, but only in very specific situations: when the si-clause is clearly attributable to a source of disourse distinct from the speaker.
Keywords: aller + infinitive, conditionals, English/French
Published online: 22 October 2009
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