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Presupposition And Entailment

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Pragmatics (Oxford Introduction to Language Study Series)
George Yule

Presupposition And Entailment

  1. 1. Presupposition & Entailment Presented by Hanieh Habibi Supervisor Dr. Sharifi
  2. 2. Definition of Presupposition & Entailment • Certain information which is assumed as already known for the listeners and will not be stated. • Much more central to pragmatics in the past than now. • We discuss them to understand the relationship between semantics and pragmatics.
  3. 3. Differences of Presupposition & Entailment Presupposition Entailment The speaker assumes to be the case prior to making an utterance. Something logically follows from what is asserted in utterance. Speakers, not sentences have it. Sentences, not speakers, have it. More speaker- dependent notion. Naturally logic and less discussed.
  4. 4. Example: Mary’s brother bought three horses. • Presuppositions are: • Mary exists. • Mary has brothers. • Mary has only one brother. • He has a lot of money. • Entailments are: • Mary’s brother bought something. • He bought three animals. • He bought two horses. • He bought one horse. • Etc.
  5. 5. Presupposition • A relationship between two propositions. a) Mary’s dog is cute. (=p) b) Mary has a dog. (=q) c) p >> q (p presuppose q) • Constancy under negation: a) Mary’s dog isn’t cute. (= NOT p) b) Mary has a dog. (=q) c) NOT p >> q
  6. 6. Constancy Under Negation : another example a) Everybody knows that john is gay. (=p) b) Everybody doesn’t know that john is gay. (= NOT p) c) John is gay. (=q) d) p >> q && NOT p>> q • The speakers disagree about the validity of p while they both assume the truth of q. • q is proposed by both p and NOT p.
  7. 7. Types of presupposition 1. Existential 2. Factive 3. Lexical 4. Structural 5. Non-Factive 6. Counterfactual Notice : we consider potential presumptions, which can only become actual presuppositions in contexts with speakers.
  8. 8. Existential Presupposition • Speaker is committed to the existence of the entities named, not only in possessive constructions, but in any definite noun phrase. • Examples: • The King of France • The cat • The girl next door • Your car
  9. 9. Factive Presupposition • Certain verbs or construction indicate that something is a fact. • Verbs: • know, realize, regret • Phrases: • be aware, be odd, be glad • We regret telling him. --> We told him. • She didn’t realize he was ill. --> He was ill. • I’m glad it’s over --> It’s over.
  10. 10. Lexical Presupposition • This assumption is that in using one word, the speaker can act as if another non-asserted meaning (word) will be understood. A. Someone managed to do something. asserted : The person succeeded in some way. B. Someone didn’t manage to do something. asserted : The person did not succeed. Non-asserted in both: The person tried!
  11. 11. Lexical Presupposition • Lexical items ‘start’ , ‘stop’ and ‘again’ have presuppositions inside: • He stopped smoking. >> He used to smoke. • They started complaining. >> They weren’t complaining before. • You are late again. >> you were late before. • Notice : here, the speaker presuppose another unstated concept. But in factive presupposition, the speaker presuppose the truth of stated information.
  12. 12. Structural Presupposition • Is the assumption associated with the use of certain words and phrases. • In certain sentence structure, part of the structure is already assume to be true. • Speaker can use such structure to treat information as presupposed and hence be accepted as true by listener or lead him to believe that the information is necessarily true.
  13. 13. Structural Presupposition • Good example is wh-question construction in English: • When did he leave? >> He left. • Where did you buy the bike? >> You bought the bike. • Subtle way of making information that the speaker believes appear to be what the speaker should believe!
  14. 14. Non-factive Presupposition • Is one that is assumed not to be true. • Examples: • I dreamed that I was rich. >> I was not rich. • We imagine we were in Hawaii. >> We were not in Hawaii. • He pretends to be ill. >> He is not ill.
  15. 15. Counter–factual Presupposition • Meaning that what is presupposed is not only not true, but is the opposite of what is true, or “contrary to facts.” • Counterfactual conditional: • If clauses: If I had enough money, I would buy that house. >> I do not have enough money • embedded clause after wish : They wish they could go on vacation now. >> They cannot go on vacation now.
  16. 16. Type Example Presupposition Existential The X >> x exists Factive I regret leaving >> I left Non-factive He pretended to be happy >> he wasn’t happy Lexical He managed to scape. >>He tried to scape. Structural When did she die? >> she died. Counterfactual If I weren’t ill, >> I am ill
  17. 17. The projection Problem • The meaning of the whole sentence is a combination of the meaning of its parts. • We expect the presupposition of a simple sentence will continue to be true when that simple sentence becomes part of a more complex sentence cause the meaning of the whole sentence is a combination of the meaning of its parts. • It doesn’t happen!
  18. 18. a) George regrets getting Marry pregnant.(=p) b) George got Marry Pregnant.(=q) c) p>>q d) He doesn’t get her pregnant.(=r) e) George regrets getting Marry pregnant, but he doesn’t get her pregnant.(=p & r) f) p & r >> NOT q
  19. 19. • When we combine two utterance (types presupposition), it can’t survive to become the meaning of some complex sentences. It is known as projection problem. • Presupposition don’t ‘project’ is that they are destroyed by entailments. • Entailment is something that necessarily follows from what is asserted. The entailment is simply more powerful than the presupposition. • That’s why we call them potential presuppositions. The projection Problem, cont.
  20. 20. a) Nobody realized that Kelly was ill.(=p) b) Kelly was ill. (=q) c) p >> q d) I imagined that Kelly was ill. (=r) e) Kelly was not ill. (=NOT q) f) r >> NOT q g) I imagined that Kelly was ill and nobody realized that she was ill.(=r & p) h) r & p >> NOT q You have a presupposition q and an entailment not q
  21. 21. • Not a pragmatic concept, but a purely logical concept. • Symbolized by II- • Eg: Rover chased three squirrels. (= p) a. Something chased three squirrels. (= q) b. Rover did something to three squirrels. (= r) c. Rover chased three of something. (= s) d. Something happened. (= t) p II- q Entailment
  22. 22. 1. Background entailment • Logical concept of entailment • A very large number of them exists for an utterance. 2. Foreground Entailments • The speaker can communicate, usually by means of stress, more important for interpreting intended meaning than any others. Types of Entailment
  23. 23. • Rover chased THREE squirrels. • Rover chased a certain number of squirrels. • ROVER chased three squirrels. • The focus shift to Rover and the main assumption is that something chased three squirrels. • ‘it-cleft’ structure has a similar function: • It wasn’t ME who took your money. Marking the Main Assumption
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Pragmatics (Oxford Introduction to Language Study Series) George Yule


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