Triggering verbal presuppositions

Marta Abrusan


This paper offers a predictive mechanism to derive the presuppositions of verbs. The starting point is the intuition, dating back at least to Stalnaker (1974), that the information conveyed by a sentence that is in some sense independent from its main point is presupposed. The contribution of this paper is to spell out a mechanism for deciding what will become the main point of the sentence and how to calculate independence. It is proposed that this can be calculated by making reference to event times. As a very rough approximation, the main point of an utterance is what (in a sense to be defined) has to be about the event time of the matrix predicate and the information that the sentence conveys but is not (or does not have to be) about the event time of the matrix predicate is presupposed. The notion of aboutness used to calculate independence is based on Demolombe and Farinas del Cerro (2000).


Presuppositions, aboutness, lexical semantics, factivity, sortal presuppositions

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