[Lingtyp] Presupposition triggers in typological perspective

Kilu von Prince kilu.von.prince at hu-berlin.de
Thu Oct 25 06:31:55 UTC 2018

Dear Emily,

I believe this field is still incredibly understudied. Just my two cents:

Concerning factive verbs, for example, it appears that in some
languages, verb meanings are underspecified and only disambiguated by
the shape of their complement clauses. So a verb may mean "know" with
a realis complement clause but "be able to" with an irrealis/potential
complement clause. So the factivity, in this case, does not seem to
come in as a presupposition lexically encoded by the verb, but as a
property of the complement clause. I have recently submitted a paper
with Anna Margetts on some relevant phenomena, which I'd be happy to
share with you. Similar cases have been described in Bogal-Allbritten

Elizabeth Bogal-Allbritten. Building meaning in Navajo. PhD thesis,
University of Massachussetts, 2016.

Concerning lexemes such as "again", I've found that in Daakaka, there
does not appear to be a difference between "again" and "also", which
must mean at least that the presupposition is not specific to events
vs other individuals, but I haven't looked into it more and I don't
know if there is any literature on this type of cross-linguistic
variation yet.

Concerning personal names, my impression is that they do come with the
presupposition that the listener should be able to identify the
referent in all languages that I know, but this might not always be
apparent to an outsider observing a "society of intimates" in
Trudgill's terms. Moreover, I found in the mostly oral languages of
Vanuatu that referent tracking is often performed more dynamically,
that is, the main speaker will tell the plot, and listeners will
supply names to make references explicit.

On Wed, Oct 24, 2018 at 8:09 PM Bohnemeyer, Juergen <jb77 at buffalo.edu> wrote:
> Dear Emily — These may be obvious, but here they are anyway:
> Matthewson, Lisa. 2006. Presupposition and cross-linguistic variation. In Proceedings of the 26th
> Meeting of the North-Eastern Linguistic Society, pages 63–76.
> Tonhauser, Judith, David Beaver, Craige Roberts and Mandy Simons. 2013. Toward a taxonomy of projective content., Language 89(1): 66-109.
> Best — Juergen
> > On Oct 24, 2018, at 12:38 PM, Emily M. Bender <ebender at uw.edu> wrote:
> >
> > Dear all,
> >
> > Is anyone aware of work that looks into presupposition triggers cross-linguistically? I'm thinking of things like the following from English:
> >
> > * factive verbs (know, regret)--presuppose the truth of their complement
> > * ordinals--my second book was about syntax presupposes that the speaker also had a first book
> > * proper names--Kim ran presupposes that there's someone named Kim
> > etc
> >
> > Thanks!
> > Emily
> >
> > --
> > Emily M. Bender
> > Professor, Department of Linguistics
> > University of Washington
> > Twitter: @emilymbender
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> --
> Juergen Bohnemeyer, Professor and Director of Graduate Studies
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Dr. Kilu von Prince

Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin
Unter den Linden 6
10099 Berlin

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