In Logic And Conversation English Language Essay

In Logic and Conversation, Grice ( 1975 ) considers the difference between what is expressed and what is meant. The chief thought of this difference is that the addresser might intend more than what is really expressed, i.e. by connoting something different than what is said in a given context. Grice refers to these differences as implicatures and provinces that there are two ways in which the information can be implicated by the talker: conventionally by conventional implicatures, closely related to what is said, and nonconventionally by colloquial implicatures, closely related to certain characteristics of the conversation.

Conventional inexplicit significance refers to the information meant by the addresser without really being portion of what he/she utters, it is that information which is attached by convention to peculiar words or looks, e.g. really, furthermore, hence, but, yet, still. etc. In the illustration given by Grice ( 1975:44 ) “ He is an Englishman ; he is, hence, brave. ” the word “ hence ” implicates that his courage is a effect of his being an Englishman. Harmonizing to Grice, the conventional implicatures do non impact the basic address Acts of the Apostless, but the less cardinal 1s, those that explain, comparison, offer extra information, etc. Because of their connexion to the words used by the addresser, they are closer to what is said than the colloquial implicatures, still both types of implicatures offer extra information, an extra significance to what is said, therefore no implicature is straight connected to what is said. Conventional implicatures are really similar to presuppositions, Karttunen and Peters ( 1979 ) province that there is no clear differentiation between them, Gazdar ( 1979 ) treats presuppositions as portion of the conventional significance of vocalizations and Yule ( 1996 ) connects the two impressions by their association with specific words which result in extra significances.

In the communicating procedure the addresser treats some pieces of information as being already known by the addressee, it is the “ given information ” which is referred to as presupposition, some of the significances being “ encoded at this degree ” ( Goddard, 2001:52 ) . This information is normally non expressed, being treated as known, but it is taken as being portion of the communicating procedure even if it is non straight communicated. Harmonizing to Goddard ( ibid. ) “ Speech acts theoreticians would claim that presupposition is a necessary facet of conversation, because it makes for economic system, without which interactions would be hopelessly tedious ” .

Besides what is assumed to be known and taken for granted, presuppositions are besides characterised as holding some assumed “ common land ” between the participants ( Stalnaker, 1978 ) or as an illation which is based “ more closely on the existent lingual construction of sentences ” ( Levinson, 1983:167 ) . A differentiation has been made between semantic and matter-of-fact presuppositions. Semantic presuppositions trade with the relationship between propositions or sentences while matter-of-fact presuppositions trade with propositions whose truth value have been taken for granted by the addresser, dwelling of “ old information about the cognition, beliefs, political orientation and graduated table of values that the addressee must be acquainted with in order to understand the significance of an vocalization ” ( Alcaraz, 1999 cited in Bonyadi and Samuel, 2011:2 ) . The false common cognition is non ever true, some propositions being accepted as true, but really they are “ non true, at all, or at least controversial ” ( van Dijk, 2000:10 ) , therefore presuppositions may be used to act upon the audience, to make different effects on the addressee. However, different alternate definitions have been proposed, there being no struggle between the semantic and matter-of-fact impressions of presupposition.

The illustrations given by Yule ( 1996:26 ) who writes approximately presupposition as a relationship between two propositions, demonstrate that presuppositions have the belongings of staying unchanged, true even if the statement is negated, this being really one of the belongingss of presuppositions which is called stability under negation:

“ Mary ‘s Canis familiaris is cunning. ” ( =proposition P )

“ Mary has a Canis familiaris. ” ( =proposition q )

“ P presupposes ( & gt ; & gt ; ) Q. ”

Even if we negate the first sentence, the relationship of presupposition remains the same:

“ Mary ‘s Canis familiaris is n’t cunning. ” ( =NOT P )

“ Mary has a Canis familiaris. ” ( =q )

“ NOT p & gt ; & gt ; Q. ”

Properties of presuppositions

Constancy under negation

As it has already been illustrated with the illustrations cited from Yule ( 1996 ) , presuppositions stand house against negation, the negation really prolonging the presuppositions, therefore both the vocalization and its opposite discrepancy have the same presuppositions.


This belongings refers to the fact that presuppositions seem to be attached to some facets of the surface construction of an vocalization. In the instance of proper names, for illustration, we can talk of presuppositions of being, in the instance of factitive or opinion verbs, there is the presupposition of truth related to the complement clauses which are attached to them.


The projection job is related to the context as presuppositions sometimes survive or do non last in different lingual contexts. Presuppositions behave otherwise in simple sentences than in complex sentences as they may sometimes neglect to be projected on a complex sentence.


This belongings refers to certain contexts in which presuppositions can be eliminated, cancelled. Levinson ( 1983:186 ) provinces that “ one of the curious things about presuppositions is that they are apt to vaporize in certain context ” . This defeasibility is related to the common cognition of the participants, the presuppositions originating when being consistent with this cognition and vanishing when they are no longer consistent.

Types of presuppositions

As we have already stated in the detachability belongings of presuppositions, they are attached to different buildings, which are known under the name of presupposition triggers and which generate different types of presuppositions. The presuppositions triggers presented below are the most normally used. Karttunen ( 1974 ) , for illustration, has made a list of 31 presupposition triggers, but our purpose is non to show all these types, but to categorise presuppositions harmonizing to the most common triggers. For this intent, we are chiefly traveling to utilize Yule ‘s ( 1983 ) class of presuppositions.

Experiential presuppositions

In this type of presuppositions the addresser is bound to the being of the things/beings presented. These presuppositions are present in the undermentioned buildings:

Possessive buildings

e.g. “ Mary ‘s brother bought three Equus caballuss. ” ( Yule, 1983:25 ) which presupposes, among other things, that Mary exists and that she has a brother.

Definite noun phrases

e.g. “ the King of Sweden ” , “ the cat ” , “ the miss following door ” , “ the Count Crows ” are all entities to the being of which the talker is assumed to be committed. ( ibid. :27 )

Factive presuppositions

These presuppositions are linked to certain verbs, the information that follows these verbs being treated as true. Factive verbs handle their complements as fact: “ cognize ” , “ be cognizant ” , “ sorrow ” , “ realize ” , etc.

e.g. “ She did n’t recognize she was ill. ” & gt ; & gt ; “ She was badly. ”

“ We regret stating him. ” & gt ; & gt ; “ We told him. ”

“ I was n’t cognizant that she was married. ” & gt ; & gt ; “ She was married. ” ( ibid. :28 )

“ The usage of one signifier with its asserted significance is conventionally interpreted with the presupposition that another ( non-asserted ) significance is understood. ” The difference between factive and lexical presuppositions is that with factive presuppositions the information that follows a certain look is considered to be true, while with lexical presuppositions the look used is taken to presuppose something that has non been stated.

In the instance of lexical presuppositions, we can mention to lexical points such as:

Implicative verbs

e.g. “ John managed/did n’t pull off to open the door. ” & gt ; & gt ; “ John tried to open the door. ” ( Levinson, 1983:181 ) . The thought that the individual tried to open the door is the non-asserted significance, the direct averment being really that the individual succeeded in opening the door.

Change of province verbs

They describe a new province or a kind of alteration of province, presupposing that the new province blare non exist before.

e.g. “ He stopped smoking. ” & gt ; & gt ; “ He used to smoke. ”

“ They started kicking. ” & gt ; & gt ; “ They were n’t kicking before. ” ( Yule, 1983:28 ) .


e.g. “ Jimmy is/is n’t as erratically gauche as Billy. ” & gt ; & gt ; “ Billy is erratically gauche. ” ( Levinson, 1983:183 ) .

Iterative adverbs

Such adverbs as “ once more ” or “ excessively ” presuppose the repeat of something.

Insistent verbs

This class refers to verbs which are normally constructed with the morpheme “ rhenium ” , for illustration “ reuse ” , “ reinvent ” , “ reapply ” , etc.

In the instance of structural presuppositions the given information is assumed to be true by the addresser who expects that the addressee besides accepts it as being true. They are normally associated with Wh-questions or Yes/No inquiries, the information following these inquiries being presupposed as needfully true by both addresser and addressee. These types of presuppositions that are based on the sentence construction represent elusive ways of doing the addressee believe something that the addresser wants him to believe.

e.g. “ How fast was the auto traveling when it ran the ruddy visible radiation? ” – If the inquiry is answered as asked, so the addressee would look to be accepting the truth of the presupposition, i.e. the auto ran the ruddy visible radiation. ( Yule, ibid. :29 ) .

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