If the notice had only said ‘quicksand’ in French as well as in English, we would never have lost poor Lewis. Counterfactual Conditional: The notice didn’t say ‘quicksand’ in French.
Comparisons and contrasts may be marked by stress (or by other prosodic means), by particles like “too”, or by comparatives constructions. Mary called Albert a male chauvinist, and then HE insulted HER. Comparisons and Contrast: For Mary to call Albert a male chauvinist would be to insult him. Cindy is a better linguist than Becky. Comparisons and […]
Cleft construction: It was Howard that kissed Sarah. Cleft Sentence: Someone kissed Sarah. Pseudo-cleft construction: What Tim lost was his wallet. Cleft Sentence: Tim lost something.
Before Derek was even born, Thomas noticed presuppositions. Temporal Clause: Derek was born. While Kensington was revolutionizing linguistics, the rest of social science was asleep. Temporal Clause: Kensington was revolutionizing linguistics. Since Kennedy died, we’ve lacked a leader. Temporal Clause: Kennedy died. Further temporal clause constructors: after; during; whenever; as (as in As Tom was getting up, he slipped).
The men in black came again. Iterative: The men in black came before. You can’t get jelly beans anymore. Iterative: You once could get jelly beans. Wellington returned to power. Iterative: Wellington held power before. Further iteratives: another time; to come back; restore; repeat; for the nth time.
Todd stopped teasing his wife. Change of State Verb: Todd had been teasing his wife. Mindy began teasing her husband. Change of State Verb: Mindy hadn’t been teasing her husband. Some further change of state verbs: start; finish; carry on; cease; take (as in X took Y from Z » Y was at/in/with Z); leave; enter; come; go; arrive; etc.
A presupposition trigger is a lexical item or linguistic construction which is responsible for the presupposition.
Andrew managed to open the door. Implicative Verb: Andrew tried to open the door. Dennis forgot to lock the door. Implicative Verb: Dennis ought to have locked, or intended to lock, the door. Some further implicative predicates: X happened to V Implicative Verb: X didn’t plan or intend to V X avoided V’ing Implicative Verb: X was expected to, or usually did, or ought […]
Definite Descriptions are phrases of the form “the X” where X is a noun phrase. The description is said to be proper when the phrase applies to exactly one object, and conversely, it is said to be improper when either more than one potential referents exists, as in “the senator from Ohio”, or none at […]
On this definition, for someone to know X, it is required that X be true. A linguistic question thus arises regarding the usage of such phrases: does a person who states “John knows X” implicitly claim the truth of X? Steven Pinker explored this question in a 2007 book on language and cognition, using a widely […]