Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Show Summary Details

Theoretical Linguistics

An Open Peer Review Journal

Editor-in-Chief: Krifka, Manfred

Ed. by Gärtner, Hans-Martin

4 Issues per year

IMPACT FACTOR 2015: 1.167
5-year IMPACT FACTOR: 1.302
Rank 44 out of 179 in category Linguistics in the 2015 Thomson Reuters Journal Citation Report/Social Sciences Edition

SCImago Journal Rank (SJR) 2015: 0.298
Source Normalized Impact per Paper (SNIP) 2015: 0.719
Impact per Publication (IPP) 2015: 0.650

See all formats and pricing
Volume 34, Issue 3 (Jan 2008)


Be Articulate: A pragmatic theory of presupposition projection

Philippe Schlenker
  • Institut Jean-Nicod, CNRS; Département d'Études Cognitives, École Normale Supérieure, Paris, France; New York University.
Published Online: 2008-12-01 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/THLI.2008.013


In the 1980's, the analysis of presupposition projection contributed to a ‘dynamic turn’ in semantics: the classical notion of meanings as truth conditions was replaced with a dynamic notion of meanings as Context Change Potentials (Heim 1983). We explore an alternative in which presupposition projection follows from the combination of a fully classical semantics with two pragmatic principles of manner, Be Articulate and Be Brief. Be Articulate is a violable constraint which requires that a meaning pp′, conceptualized as involving a pre-condition p (its ‘presupposition’), should be articulated as … (p and pp′) … (e.g. … it is raining and John knows it …) rather than as … pp′ …. Be Brief, which is more highly ranked than Be Articulate, disallows a full conjunction whose first element is semantically idle. In particular, … (p and pp′) … is ruled out by Be Brief – and hence … pp′ … is acceptable despite Be Articulate – if one can determine as soon as p and is uttered that no matter how the sentence ends these words could be eliminated without affecting its contextual meaning. Two equivalence theorems guarantee that these principles derive Heim's results in almost all cases. Unlike dynamic semantics, our analysis does not encode in the meaning of connectives the left-right asymmetry which is often found in presupposition projection; instead, we give a flexible analysis of this incremental bias, which allows us to account for some ‘symmetric readings’ in which the bias is overridden (e.g. If the bathroom is not hidden, this house has no bathroom).

About the article

Published Online: 2008-12-01

Published in Print: 2008-12-01

Citation Information: Theoretical Linguistics, ISSN (Online) 1613-4060, ISSN (Print) 0301-4428, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/THLI.2008.013. Export Citation

Citing Articles

Here you can find all Crossref-listed publications in which this article is cited. If you would like to receive automatic email messages as soon as this article is cited in other publications, simply activate the “Citation Alert” on the top of this page.

Filippo Domaneschi, Elena Carrea, Carlo Penco, and Alberto Greco
Frontiers in Psychology, 2016, Volume 6
Benjamin R. George
Journal of Applied Non-Classical Logics, 2014, Volume 24, Number 1-2, Page 86
Louis de Saussure
Journal of Pragmatics, 2013, Volume 59, Page 178
Emmanuel Chemla and Philippe Schlenker
Natural Language Semantics, 2012, Volume 20, Number 2, Page 177
Márta Abrusán
Linguistics and Philosophy, 2011, Volume 34, Number 6, Page 491
Nathan Klinedinst and Daniel Rothschild
Natural Language Semantics, 2012, Volume 20, Number 2, Page 137
Philippe Schlenker
Linguistics and Philosophy, 2011, Volume 34, Number 4, Page 341
Atle Grønn and Kjell Johan Sæbø
Journal of Logic, Language and Information, 2012, Volume 21, Number 1, Page 75
Emmanuel Chemla and Lewis Bott
Language and Cognitive Processes, 2013, Volume 28, Number 3, Page 241
Philippe Schlenker
Language and Linguistics Compass, 2011, Volume 5, Number 12, Page 858
Philippe Schlenker
Natural Language Semantics, 2011, Volume 19, Number 4, Page 395
Márta Abrusán
Natural Language Semantics, 2011, Volume 19, Number 3, Page 257
Philippe Schlenker
Philosophical Studies, 2010, Volume 151, Number 1, Page 115
P. Schlenker
Mind, 2010, Volume 119, Number 474, Page 377
Emmanuel Chemla
Natural Language Semantics, 2009, Volume 17, Number 4, Page 299

Comments (0)

Please log in or register to comment.
Log in