Pragmatics and Discourse
M.TEORICO INGLESE 3 PRAGMATICS AND DISCOURSE
The aim of this course is to elaborate critically academic material . First of all it is important to say that TO SPEAK has
a different meaning from TO COMMUNICATE .
RIDDLE : ( enigma , quelli riportati dal prof era enigmi basati su parole aventi piu significati)it is very important to
focus on the meaning of the words in order to solve it. A particular riddle in italian such as “ entri in una stanza quanti
piedi ci sono ? Risposta 6 2tuoi+ 4 del letto “ can' t be translated into English in a successful way because words are
language – specif . nd
Ballard ( author of our 2 year book) defines words as “ the building block of the language”.
now we have to find an answer to this question : Is the equation Verbal Communication = Words correct ? No,
– it isn't . because there two types of meaning : the first one is the propositional meaning and the second one is
the intended meaning which will be analysed later .
The Verbal Communication: 1) starts from words 2) it is not only made up of words 3) words are only a part
– of the communication 4) verbal and non-verbal communication complete each other
A DEFINITION OF PRAGMATICS
We can't find a watertight definition ( a definition nobody can argue with , definizione che non puo essere discussa) for
Pragmatics studies : 1)language
and focus on : language used in communication
others define pragmatics as the study of non- linguistic pressures and causes → this is what we call context . When we
speak we don' t only understand what words mean but we intuitively know something it is not included in the text and
what makes us understand these elements is the context .
TO SUM UP PRAGMATICS STUDIES THE RELATION BETWEEN LANGUAGE, MEANING AND CONTEXT
because speakers often implies more than what they say .
Pragmatics studies the intended and perceived meaning of words, phrases , clauses , sentences or , to be more exact, of
utterances in interaction. ( All the words written in red are utterances , and they aren' t in a random order )
A word can stand on its own but it can go up and be considered as a clause or a sentence , it can do so pragmatically
because pragmatics takes into consideration descriptive grammar and not prescriptive grammar . It is interested in what
people say . Pragmatics doesn't study sentences as syntax does , but it considers UTTERNCES that is what we use to
UTTERANCE → sequence of words preceded and ended by a pause used to give a message
. So “no” it's and utterance because it furnishes a complete reply . Utterance is a unit above sentence , it's a unit
of pragmatics used to convey a number of ideas .
In the structure of language pragmatics is the last step, after semantics ( graphology – phonetics – morphology –
syntax- semantics – pragmatics )
schema riassuntivo : pragmatics studia la relazione tra lingua, significato(meaning) e contesto
We have always to modify the word MEANING in this course , there are different types of menaing but they relate to
one another , they are PROPOSITIONAL , IMPLIED . INTENDED , PERCEIVED meaning.
Words in a text are not enough to understand its communicative meaning , very often we need to know the context of a
Context is not only made up of circumstances and situations but also past events are part of the today context ,
pragmatics talks about GOAL or AIM in the cause of future context. The goal ( obiettivo) we have in our mind is very
important in our communication . We basically communicate because we want to achieve something.
So the context is made up of everything is around that particular moment.
Example : “ Door !” without a context we cannot know what the speaker means . We can guess by trying to image a
context based on our background because a single word can means a lot of different things.
Even if we have some context information (f.e we are in the bathroom ) we still can't 100% sure if “ DOOR ! “ means
open or close the door .
the intended meaning is what I want to mean , and usually is very different from what I say .
Meaning in the context can be explained by :
physical and social world
– socio- psychological factors influencing communication
– time ( related to physical and social contraints = vincoli)
As I've just written above speaks imply more than what their words apparently say . In other words all the utterances
contain an intended meaning deeper and different from the propositional meaning.
When we communicate the result is a combination of speaker and hearer → the roles change at every utterance .
Speaker 's meaning depends on :
1) When we start a communicative exchange whatever we say is based in assumptions of knowledge →
hypothesis we create in our mind before , they guide our communicative behaviour , what words we choose
( ex. Studente che entra in una stanza e capisce immediatamente che c' è un insegnate perche si trova in un
'aula universitaria )
2) the hearer interprets the message and decodes the non-literal meaning .
This process is circular
so our mind works in this way :
CONTEXTUAL ELEMENT → sound : knock at the door
– UNDERLYING ASSUMPTIONS → someone is knocking at the door
– IMPLIED MEANING → go open the door
– UTTERANCE –> “Open the door !”
3 TYPES OF CONTEXT
1) Situational / communicative context
2) background knowledge context / knowledge of the world
3) co- textual / co- text
These 3 kinds of context make up the context of any communicative exchange , they are three aspects of the same thing
word vs term:
a word is a lexeme in our natural language . It can have different meanings
– the term has only one meaning .It is the same as word from the point of view of shape but it has only one
– meaning . Used in specialised discourses
Some words are actually terms in Pragmatics such as context – > it's a specialised term , a so- called “ umbrella term “
→ it can be split into three parts that together represent the context .
There are two main reasons for which we have to consider the context ( the third reason will be explained later) :
it influences the way we communicate
– it helps reduce the potentiality of utterances ( it is related both to the production and the interpretation of the
According to the context we can decide whether we communicate or not and in which way .
It is difficult to predict the absolute meaning of an utterance in isolation form the context because of its meaning
potential. Utterances can potentially mean anything including the opposite of their surface ( propositional meaning) ( in
case of jokes, irony etc ). In conclusion to reduce the potentiality we need e to consider the context. “ door !”--> to
reduce its potentiality we put it in a context.
1) SITUATIONAL/ COMMUNICATIVE CONTEXT
The situation in which the interaction is taking place at the moment of speaking . We are talking about the physical
This context provides the speaker with all those words, sounds , non verbal devices that help speaker determine the
meaning of the utterance , in the sense that the extra-linguistic information helps participants eliminate any ambiguity in
the text .
It also determines the way the speakers communicate with one another ( WH questions: how, why …..) and what they
talk about or they do not talk about .
Situation ,as context , is an umbrella term that includes three aspects 1) place 2) participants 3) time . After having
considered the linguistic information we start thinking about the extra linguistic ones that is(cioé) the situational
context. When we have both linguistic and extra linguistic elements we are able to define what is the right context
among the possible options.
The linguistic info._---> “ door ! “ “ I'm in the bath “ “ok ! “
extra linguistic info → place : shared apartment
participants : two room- mates
time : one is doing something else , the other is having a bath
n.b context in general terms ( not only the situational context ) is the dimension of communication which turns
language as a formal system into a means of communication .( “parole” le mot utilisé par f. de Saussurre dans son
cours de linguistique générale )
-there is a third reason why context is so important : there is a large range of words that literally point out at something
around us :
deixis → all those words that link language to the external world
– reduction in explicitness → it's a typical trait of human communication , we tend to avoid being over-
– explicit , in particular when the situational context allow us to do so ( saying “ that “ instead of “ the bottle of
3 kinds of deixis : 1) personal ( personal pronouns) 2) place 3) time we use them when we take for granted a lot of
According to the context we can understand if we can/ cannot/ how be reduced in explicitness . In the exam we should
not reduce our explicitness . If we don't know what a particular deixis means we have to make assumptions .
Now we will underline the contextual variables which make up the situational context :
they are able to affect speakers and texts because they influence how, when , why etc we say something and
– they can help us understand the intended meaning. They are:
2) setting ( time and place)
4) medium ( spoken or written ) + text type , purpose , channel ….. also these are elements of the situational
1,2,3,4 are important . If one of them changes the context changes, each of them has a very strong impact .
It may affects lexis, grammar and style for example legal documents have long and complex clauses . It also helps to
reduce the potentiality → according to the topic the same utterance can have a different meaning.
Taboo topics → things you don' t talk about in a particular context ex: teacher and students share only some aspects of
It may affect language/communication in a variety of ways :
1) time : diachronic → if you have to read Caucher ,you need to read Middle English sinchronic( we talk about a
specific point in time ) → lesson vs office hours
2) place → they influence the concepts to be expressed and the type of language employed.
It makes us understand the intended meaning : AMEN in church has a different meaning in another context .
sub – variables :
1) individual identity
2) social identity ( genre , class , religion ...)
3) personal and social relationship between interactors
4) presence or absence of an audience
difference between written ( organised , complex structures , grammatical accuracy …)
– and spoken language ( in general not planned in advance
there can a mixture of written and oral : written to be spoken vs spoken to be written ( someone who says something
knowing that it will be written down . There are also differences among written texts such as formal or personal e-
N.B THESE VARIABLES ACT ALL TOGETHER AND THEY IMPACT ON EACH OTHER ( le variabili non
agiscono in maniera individuale)
2) BACKGROUND KNOWLEDGE OR KNOWLEDGE OF THE WORLD
It is constituted by everything we know about he world , all the information that we possess and that:
1) allow us to reduce the potentiality of utterances
2) influence our communicative behaviour
3) perform utterances that are reduced in explicitness
and understand other people's utterances which are reduced in explicitness
We share a lot of knowledge with the people we know so we have in common a big background
This is the knowledge about how things usually go in the world which is stored in our memories and help us filling the
missing links in communication and understand the intended meaning.
Encyclopedic kow : everything which is shared by members of the same group or community acquired through
schools , books , TV , radios …... This kind of knowledge is open access.
(Inter)personal kow : knowledge acquired by previous conversations and activities , which includes personal knowledge
about the interlocutor , it is the knowledge unique and different that everyone possesses.....it only belong to us , not
open access , you can' t find it in books or television . It depends on experiences of your life.
3) THE CO-TEXT
is the context of the text itself. Therefore, it is constituted by words and verbal indications , namely those words and
verbal indications which constitute the rest of the text. All the words BEFORE and AFTER the utterance we are
considering make up the co-text
The difference with the previous two types of context is that the co-text doesn't include non-linguistic elements. An
utterance might appear completely different if we don't know what has been said and what will be said before and after.
In other words a change in the co-text implies a change in the intended meaning of the utterance we are considering
COHESION AND COHERENCE
Cohesion : grammatical and lexical unity of the text – they way the text makes links with and within itself. In other
words is the way the co-text hangs together
Coherence : it concerns the meaning , the text needs to show unity of meaning and theoretic and logical progression to
be considered coherent .
These two concepts usually go together.
Meaningful → every sentence ha a meaning , at least the propositional meaning if we do not understand the intended
Coherent → a text is supposed to be coherent since it must be progressive and logical. An utterance must be logically
linked to the previous co-text ( there must be unity of meaning ) , a sequence of meaningful sentences can' t be coherent
so they can' t have a logical progression
A text can be cohesive but not coherent ------> not unity at meaning level
1) language making links with itself e.g making its grammatical and lexical relationship explicit
2) through verbal signals present in the text
cohesive devices :
1) grammatical cohesion :* reference /substitution / ellipsis/ conjunction
2) lexical cohesion : repetition / lexical reiteration
*reference : Linguistic forms , known as referring expressions which are used to indicate something , namely to refer to
something in world or in the text which is known as a referent .
Example : My apartment consists of a living room . The living room is ….( grammar explain that we are talking about
the same room )
Reference is used to avoid unnecessary repetitions , which would make the text over – explicit .
Remember that a typical human communication is based on reduction in explicitness !
EXOPHORIC VS ENDOPHORIC REFERENCE:
exophoric reference is dependent on te context outside the text --- > elisabetta is the lecturer of english
– linguistic . ( in this case the co- text is not enough )
1) The referring expression represents the first mention of the referent in the text
2) the referring expression refers to something in KNOWLEDGE OF THE WORLD ( also known as
intertextuality ) example1 : A. what happened here ? It looks like the 2 world war broke out in this apartment
. This is a case of cultural intertextuality because it's part of a knowledge shared by the largest part of
people , nearly everybody knows what was and what in this case means the expression I have underlined .
Example 2 : A. O.M.G ! What sara told him yesterday was amazing ! → here we have the INTERPERSONAL
TEXTUALY ,is something shared probably by few speaker such as Sara , the speaker and their friends .
endophoric reference → reference refers to items within the same text → Jack and Sandra will get married
– soon . They met at the university ( in this case the co-text is enough to understand who “ they “refers to )
There are two types of endophora :
1) Anaphora ( anaphoric reference) links back to a referent that has already been mentioned in the same text ( the
left dislocation : My neighbours, they moved )
example : Jack and Sara will get married soon. They met at university .
2) Cataphora → links forward to a referent that follows in the text ( right disolcation , They moved , my
example : Million of copies of his novel have been sold so far . Dan Brown is one of the most famous writers of
the year . His → endophoric and cataphoric reference ( encyclopaedic)
THE ASSOCIATIVE ENDOPHORA :
There is one case in which NPs ( nouns and pronouns ) are not explicitly linked to each other , but one of them is linked
to entities associated with the other NP, this is the associative endophora .
Example : You tube is a popular video-sharing website where users can upload , view and share video clips . What is
video sharing ? → public viewing on line , not physically, passing DVDs to friends , How can we know these things
about video-sharing ? Thanks to the knowledge of the presuppositional pool of “website” .
The two NP s refer to each other not linguistically but associatively .
WHAT ABOUT DEIXIS ? ARE THEY ENDOPHORIC OR EXOPHORIC REFERNCE ?
( n.b the deictic focus is the person who is speaking )
We need to answer to this difficult question. Deixis can be:
1) proximal deixis → near to the speaker
2) distal deixis → away from the speaker
Then we have analysed different kinds of deixes ( here there are not written the example which are in my notebook)
such as :
1) personal deixis
2) time deixis
3) place deixis
4) discourse deixis
5) psychological use of spatial deixis
6) gestual deixis
7) symbolic deixis
IN CONCLUSION ( we need to look at the example to completely understand ) TO FULLY UNDERSTAND A
DEICTIC WE NEED THE WORLD OUTSIDE THE TEXT !
Use of substitutes ( one, so , did) like endophoric reference , to hold the text together and avoid repetitions
example : - I have a Pentium computer !
I don't have one, but I wish I did
one = a pentium computer
did : I had a Pentium computer
Ellipsis also avoids repetitions and leaves it to the hearer to retrieve the missing words from the co-text ( spazi vuoti = $
Sue cooked dinner and $ washed the dishes
– Sue cleaned the bedroom and Liz $ the kitchen
– Sue cleaned the bedroom and $ $ the bathroom
Coordination vs Subordination
– Linking adverbs such as then , afterwards , but , moreover , therefore , otherwise , however.
– They link the text from a grammatical point of view by telling s what come after or before.
Coordination : another piece of information equally important .
Subordination : a piece of information less important
Using them is a subtle way to tell us what is more important .
This is a lexical cohesive device through which words or phrases are repeated throughout the text , becoming a thread .
It is meant to clarify , specify , underline highlight . It is a way to have concepts stuck in our mind ( for example in
ballads repetition was useful so that people could remember them ) .
synonyms , antonyms , homonyms , general words
– they are deployed to avoid repetitions while giving the same amount of information .
- SYNONYM : we use another word very close in meaning to the word we have just used ( man, human creature) . In
English we have near synonyms , they are never 100% the same . There are always some shadows which distinguishes
- ANTONYM : men / women , there are both gradable and non-gradable antonyms . W ecan use antonyms without any
other cohesive device
– GENERAL WORDS
N.B the same word can be an hyponym and hyperonym .
The use of grammatical and lexical cohesive devices varies from co-text to co-text , from genre to genre , and also
depends on purpose and text – type .
Legal documents = repetitions in order to avoid obscurity
Literary texts = ellipsis : cause ambiguity
essays by students for exams = There are many conjunctions to assign the text a clear structure nd show that the use of
linking words was acquired .
PRAGMATICS CONSIDERS COHERENCE AS RELEVANCE
Very often a cohesive text is also coherent . Relevance is the same as coherence .
A) COHESIVE SENTENCES B) NON COHESIVE SENTENCES
Examples . 1) - What time is it ?
- The postman has already been
1) - What time is it ?
- It's three p.m 2) - What is your name ?
cohesive device : REPETITION - Rich , very rich
2) - What is your name ?
cohesive device : ELLIPSIS
3) - Can you go to London ?
- Yes , I can .
cohesive device : pronouns EXOPHORIC REFERENCE
( deixis I, You)
The interactions in column A are cohesive and coherent .
The interactions in column B are cohesive and, apparently, not coherent , they only are coherent if we assume that :
There are missed links in communication which need to be filled in
– that the two speakers are reduced in explicitness and that they share information that allows B to infer A's
– communicative intention and provide A with coherent/ relevant information which A can infer based on the
information that A shares with B . ( in this case we call the two speakers A and B)
NB ABOUT THE COMMUNICATIVE EXCHANGES IN COLUMN B :
These sentences are not cohesive because of the lack of cohesive devices . RELEVANT means LINKED . They are not
cohesive but we are able to understand the intended meaning , so relevant means something which is linked with the
topic of conversation .
For the reasons explained above in pragmatics we talk about RELEVANCE because relevant , as I' ve just said , means
something which is linked .
THE DIMENSIONS OF LEXICAL MEA NING
A further element which makes communication a complex procedure and accounts for the strong link between text and
context is that the very meaning of lexical items can depend on the context .
There are five dimensions of lexical meaning :
4) idiomatic expressions
5) semantic field
these 5 are sub-categories of the lexical meaning . Now these dimensions will be described by following a precise order
: the following dimension is always based on the previous one .
Denotation: it is also known as sense or propositional meaning ( there are also other names) is the literal
– meaning of the linguistic element , which allows that element to stand for and descrie people,plants , animals
etc... existing in the real world.
This is already a complication because just like utterances have MP , also words ( or
– signifiers) usually denote more than one signified , they are polysemous or they can have
multiple membership ( they belong to more than one category )
The intended meaning of this signifier will be made clear either by the context or the co-text
Example : Floor can be A) a flat surface where people stand B) a level in a building
Connotation: The second dimension of lexical meaning further points out that lexical items need to be
– considered in context . Connotation identifies all those non-linguistic but social, cultural , expressive, emotive ,
attitudinal associations which are made with the denotational meaning of an item . We start from denotational
properties and we associate something cultural . If you change the language, you could change the connotation
Ex: DENOTATION : grey / dark colour
CONNOTATION : sadness
We have to remember that our perception of colours depends on the language we speak , for example in the Aboriginal
culture the colour white is linked to DEATH .
Connotational meaning is strongly culture - bond !
Collocation: identifies the fact that lexical items are not free to be arranged syntagmatically with other
– lexemes but are placed ( or collocated ) in meaningful relationship with a restricted number of other lexical
items , with which they frequently co-occur . This means that words have a collocational range .
Ex Beautiful/ handsome are near synonyms but you cannot say handsome girl or beautiful women because this two
pairs create an extra meaning ( cioè un uomo che sembra una donna e viceversa).
Other example : the bed of the river / the floor of the ocean .
N.B There are two axes , the paradigmatic one ( In which I have to select the word) and the syntagmatic one ( I have to
combine in the right order )
In English words are not free → when we select a word the number of words which can follow DIMINUISCE
SIGNICATIVAMENTE . Ex : make + a mistake ( correct )
+ favour ( wrong !) / we have to say do a favour )
N.B The collocational range is made up of the range of words we can combinate with a certain word .
Gray day → is now offiacially a collocation because of the large use that people made of it in the past.
If you break a collocation you create an extra- meaning .
Idiomatic expressions : Idioms are fixed expressions which exploit the connotation of an item , hence they
– need to be contextualised to be fully understood .
Ex1 : She is a pearl of a child ( pearl : precious)
The idiomatic expression have a bigger meaning than the sum of the two literal meanings .
N.B the difference between idiomatic expression and collocation is that collocations are not fixed expressions : when a
lexeme is selected , a strong statistical expectancy that certain target will co-occur is created .
Ex2 : Do not cast pearls before swine ( non gettare le perle ai porci ) idiomatic expression made up of the connotation
of pearl and the connotation of swine. → WE CAN'T CHANGE THESE WORDS !!!!! ( idiomatic expressions never
change , same words same order )
Collocations are not fixed expressions, MAKE is not only collocated with mistakes but also with other words such as
money ( make money = fare soldi ).Often collocations are built with just two words .
Semantic field: It is the final dimension of lexical meaning and identifies the fact that words can be grouped
– together according to the → denotational, connotational , idiomatic meanings they hold in common.
Synonyms , antonymy and hyponymy are typical strategies through which these shared meanings can be conveyed .
Please note that the same item can belong to more than one semantic field , the context and the co-text will clarify
which specific meaning and semantic field we are to infer.
Ex: ( the complete example is in my notebook ) wear black → two options , semantic field of elegance or semantic
field of death . ( the word black can be in two different semantic fields ) .
Another way to held together the text is to use semantic field .
VALUE- FREE vs VALUE-LOADED WORDS
Co- text and semantic field can be typically to turn VALUE FREE WORDS ( words which do not pass judgements )
into VALUE LOADED WORDS ( words which pass judgements ) and/or positively connoted words into negatively
connoted words and vice-versa.
Value free words--> we do not express more than what we say .
COMMUNICATION AS A PROCESS.
Therefore human communication is a complex , hypothesis – texting ( assumptions ) , information – processing ,
decision making process of interaction and negation . Modern pragmtics and Discourse Analysis recognize it as such.
Process → communication depends on a large number of elements , we don't know before how a conversation will
Hypothesis → what we assume with our context ( made up of background knowledge , situational context and co-text )
Decision → When I start speaking I make a decision , also when I choose a particular utterance . I consider context to
decide what utterance I need to use for example . We need to take into account a lot of elements to define
communication so the definition above is not enough .
A bit of history , how communication was considered in the past :
COMMUNICATION AS A PRODUCT
Positivism ( according to which social and natural sciences had to consider only empiric data as valuable and to treat
them in methodical terms ) and later Structuralism ( which continued in the attempt to find a rational , mathematical , “
scientific” method to deal with social and cultural elements , such as language , by trying to link every specific
phenomenon to a broader system or structure ) did not consider communication as a process but as a product. ( 1800 e
prima metà 1900)
Both those theoretical paradigms considered communication as a product . The result of the combination of a series of
single components which acted as variables in mathematics equation .
N.B empiric → I can see and I can touch it .
Positivism and Structuralism were not wrong at all . We inherited some elemets from them that we consider today in
modern pragmatic .
THE MESSAGE MODEL OF COMMUNICATION ( positivism and structuralism) schema da ricopiare poi a mano.
Noise → everything that can prevent communication from happening .
As we can see in the scheme above communication is made up of 7 elements according to these two approaches .
These two theories were born during the first part of 1900 , so during the period of the two W.WARS. → They relied on
what the physically can touch , during that period it was easy to be logical , it was easy to take into account things that
had a solution . They survived ( those who elaborated these two theories) the two wars so they need to find an order
and they thought that this model was possible . These are the reasons for which positivism and structuralism build up
this idea of communication.
ONE- TO – ONE RELATION BETWEEN FORM AND FUNCTION
First of all we need to point out that structuralism and positivism didn't consider what we have studied before. (cf. The
influence of context in communication ….. ) .
According to positivism and structuralism communication stems from the combined action of those elements ( guardare
lo schema ) .This means that they consider language as an ideal identity in which the rules of syntax , morphology and
phonology were the only ones which were needed to encode and decode messages : to be considered fully meaningful ,
utterances had to be verifiable statements , and they classified all other utterances as EMOTIVE . In short only
statements empirically verifiable were considered MEANINGFUL . We were in a period of time where only maths was
This also implies that , according to these paradigms , that meaningful utterances show a 1:1 ( one- to – one)
relationship between form and function and only messages which are unequivocal could be encoded . Therefore any
breakdown in communication or misunderstanding can be explained by making reference to the NOISE . This is they
way by which they explained misunderstanding and it is clear that this is not something scientific .
The consequence of this is that
1) logical positivism : was therefore interested in “ propositions “ , namely in sentences which stood for facts
and/or states-of-affairs which could be verified for their true or false value .
2) Sentence meaning / sense is identified as a proposition ( hence propositional meaning) which expresses facts
or states of affairs in accordance with the rules (to be finished )
ENTAILMENTS ( this one one of those concepts we inherited from positivism )
to entail = to include . Example :
1 My uncle Tom is arriving from Canada
a) Someone was in Canada
b) Someone is arriving where I am
c) I have an uncle
d) My uncle's name is Tom
e) He is a man
1 entails a,b,c,d,e . Entailments are propositions which are included in other propositions .In this case we don't need
the context because we only need the LOGIC . The two elements we use are logic and grammar .
The entailments of a sentence represent those propositions that can be logically deduced from the sentence IN
ISOLATION FROM THE CONTEXT .
This also means that the sentence 1 will come true only if a,b,c,d,e are true . Therefore 1 is a meaningful sentence
because it can be verified for its true or false value ---> we can empirically verify . Thanks to entailments we verify if
sentences are true or false . If ONLY one of a-e is false also 1 is FALSE. This was a way to understand if
presuppositions were meaningful.
N.B if uncle tom were died , there would be the lack of truth of “c” so the proposition would be considered EMOTIVE.
ENTAILMENTS AND PRESUPPOSITIONS
Entailments trace the meaning relationship between two sentences which is based on the fact that the truth of one
always implies the truth of the other .
Example : JFK was assassinated → entailment : JFK is dead
A concept related to entailment is that of presupposition . “ shared meaning” or “ background assumption “ ( not
starting from situational context) is the first definition of presupposition , but this is less specific .
Example : The present king of France is bald → this presuppposes : There is a king of France ( this is a background
element included or entailed in the previous element )
this entails → The king of France has no hair ( exist only only after we say that the king of France is bald .
Analysis of the difference between entailments and presuppositions
1) JFK was assassinated 1) The present king of France is bald
entails : presupposes :
JKF is dead . There is a king of France
TEST OF NEGATION: TEST OF NEGATION :
1) JFK was not assassinated 1) The present king of France is not bald
does not entail: presupposes :
JFK is dead There is a king of France
so we understand that : entailments are affected by
ordinary sentence negation because they are deduced only so we undestand that PRESUPPOSITIONS ARE NOT
after the sentence , so they change as the sentence changes AFFECTED BY ORDINARY NEGATION BECAUSE
. In other words we need to have the proposition first and THEY EXIST BEFORE . THEY ARE THE BASIS ON
then we can deduce . WHICH THERE IS THE PROPOSITION.
+1 anno fa
I contenuti di questa pagina costituiscono rielaborazioni personali del Publisher yasmina.sharafeldin di informazioni apprese con la frequenza delle lezioni di Inglese III e studio autonomo di eventuali libri di riferimento in preparazione dell'esame finale o della tesi. Non devono intendersi come materiale ufficiale dell'università Genova - Unige o del prof Zurru Elisabetta.
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