Chemla, Emmanuel and Lewis Bott (2010). “Processing presuppositions: dynamic semantics vs pragmatic enrichment”. Manuscript, Cardiff University, IJN, LSCP.

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Abstract: One defining and yet puzzling feature of linguistic presuppositions is the way they interact with linguistic operators. For instance, when a presupposition trigger (e.g., realise) occurs under negation (e.g., Zoologists do not realise that elephants are mammals), the sentence is most commonly interpreted with the same global presupposition (elephants are mammals) as if negation was not present. Alternatively, the presupposition may be locally accommodated, i.e., the presupposition may become part of what is negated. In this paper, we use a sentence verification task similar to that used to study scalar implicatures (Bott and Noveck, 2004) to show that global interpretations are faster than local interpretations. We argue that these results are inconsistent with certain pragmatic accounts of presupposition projection.

Keywords: presupposition; processing; scalar implicatures; pragmatics; dynamic semantics.