Site Loader

center2300231140941000center818008227695KEBAKAONE TUMELO MAGANG ID: 200903111
[email protected] TUMELO MAGANG ID: 200903111
[email protected] and Entailment are usually confused. With the aid of examples, discuss these two concepts showing their similarities and differences.

9410010000Presupposition and Entailment are usually confused. With the aid of examples, discuss these two concepts showing their similarities and differences.

center300003017520ENG 451: SEMANTICS
9410036300ENG 451: SEMANTICS

ABSTRACT
Semantics is the line of study that is concerned with deriving meaning that is found in utterances. This involves several concepts including sentence relations to which presupposition and entailment belong. This category involves the following concepts; tautology, synonymy and contradiction. This paper serves to shed light on understanding of sentence relation, paying particular attention to presupposition and entailment, and the differences between these concepts to the effect of trying to clarify the confusion existent in there between.

UNDERSTANDING SENTENCE RELATIONS MEANING
Words do exhibit relations with one another in a language, sentences also do exhibit relations to one another. This means that sentences also relate in a specific way. You will find that words have relation that cause them to have similar meaning, also with sentences, they have specific relations of which such relations may be led by the reason of the use of particular words. Sometimes these relations may be of certain syntactic structure. But for one to know or be familiar with sentence relations, he or she must understand different concepts that fall under sentence relations. These are; synonymy, tautology, contradiction, entailment and presupposition. Below will be the description of each concept, basing more focus on entailment and presupposition.
SYNONYMY
Synonymy is a concept that deals with two sentences having the same truth value. Synonymy also can be confused as entailment. This is because when tested using the entailment concept, synonymy tends to hold. Two sentences p and q are synonymous if they both have the same truth value; that is if p describes a situation, q will also describe the same situation. Such sentences are referred to as paraphrases.

Jones owns the house
The house belongs to Jones
The composite truth table for the synonymous sentences above is as follows:
P q
T > T
F < F
T ? T
F ? F
The table is also applicable to 3 and 4 below. However the synonymous relation in this pair is induced by the syntax of the sentences.
The police pursued the robber
The robber was pursued by the police

CONTRADICTION
Two sentences p and q are contradictory if they both affirm and deny the same proposition. For such sentences, when p is T q is F as shown below:
He is a bachelor
He is married

Pq
T>F
F<T
T?F
F?T
If ‘he’ is constant in 1 and 2, then the two sentences are contradictory. The reason why these two sentences are said to be contrary is because they hold different ideas. If one out of the blue, without having the subject in place, uses ‘he’ without the referent, the sentences in place will have a contradictory meaning. For these two sentences not be contradictory, there should be a referent. An example will be:
Tom is a bachelor
He is a bachelor
With the above sentences, we cannot say they are contradictory because both of them hold the same truth value. ‘He’ in sentence 4 will be a reference of Tom.
PRESUPPOSITION
Yule (1996: 25) defines pragmatic presupposition as “something the speaker assumes to be the case prior to making an utterance”. Presupposition constitute at any given time the communicative background assumed to be known and accepted (Gadzar 1979). In most cases, people use presuppositions throughout without knowing it. For one to understand presupposition, first they must know the definition of what presupposition is, the types of presuppositions, what they do and how one can identify them. Also, one must be able to know what causes presuppositions, which is referred to as presupposition triggers.
Kroeger defines presupposition as ‘information that which is linguistically encoded as being part of the common ground at the time of utterance’, (Kroeger 2018). With common ground, Kroeger refers to everything that both the speaker and the hearer know or believe, also know that they have in common. This means that during the time of utterance, the hearer has the knowledge of what is being said by the speaker. Examples that are obvious include; knowledge about the world, we all know that there is one moon and one sun. This is a fact that no one can dispute or argue because evidence is already there. This may also continue to include knowledge that is observable in speech situations, the perfect scenario will be what the speaker is wearing or carrying. Also facts that have been mentioned before in that same conversation or discourse. From the above, we can simply say, a sentence is said to presuppose another sentence if its truth and that of its negation both imply that the presupposed sentence is also true.
Examples:
It is surprising that Magang passed the test.

Presupposition: Magang passed the test.
It is not surprising that Magang passed the test.

Presupposition: Magang passed the test.

The table below shows how presupposition relate or the structure in which it follows.

P q
T > T
F < T
T or F ? T
P presupposes q if q is part of the assumed background against which P is said. This simply means that q hold the same idea as P.

TYPES OF PRESUPPOSITION
Under the concept of presupposition, there are different types that are found here. These types of presuppositions account for the difference found in presuppositions. They depend more on the context used or that is found in presuppositions. Under types of presuppositions, I will discuss six different types of presuppositions and give as much examples to elaborate the context.
EXISTENTIAL PRESUPPOSITION
This type of presupposition is the assumption that there is existence of entities that are named by the speaker. Existential presuppositions are the main starting point for presupposition theory philosophy (Seuren 1994, cited in Lamarque 1997, 359). What this means is that the speaker won’t speak of something that does not exist. Also, when asked to account, it will be easy because the speaker can pinpoint the entities that he is referring to.

Examples below will show how existential presupposition is like.

Mary’s new car is beautiful.

There is exist a person called Mary.

Mary has a car.

Tom’s cat is cute.

Tom exist.

He (Tom) has a cat.

Professor Otlogetswe’s car is fast.

Professor Otlogetswe exist.

He has a car.

From the above examples, we can see that what the speaker utters, the listener already know that there are entities that are being referred to. It is not something that is uttered out of the blue.

FACTIVE PRESUPPOSITION
Factive presupposition is the assumption that argues that something is true, this can be realized due to the presence of some verbs that are used in such presuppositions. To account for this, verbs such as “know”, “realize” and phrases that involve “glad” are used to show this type of presupposition. In most cases the presupposition is telling of what has already happened. The term ‘factive’ is used to classify these verbs. Examples that follow below will show how these presuppositions are realized.
He didn’t realize she was ill.

(;; she was ill)
Mary didn’t know that Thabo passed the exam.

(>> Thabo passed the exam.)
I am glad it’s over.

(;; It’s over.)
From the above examples, we can see that the sentences provided presupposes what follows after them.

LEXICAL PRESUPPOSITION
With lexical presupposition, the assumption is that, with the use of one word, the hearer will understand the meaning that the speaker is relaying. The speaker act as if another meaning is obvious to the listener. The listener knows of the facts being stressed here. Examples below will help understand what exactly lexical presupposition is.

Thabo stopped smoking.

(>> Thabo smoked before) the implication is that Thabo used to smoke.

You drove the car again.

(>> you drove the car before.)
Mpho closed the door again.

(>> Mpho closed the door before) the implication here is that Mpho closed the door before, then he found it open and closed it again. It is something he did before.

STRUCTURAL PRESUPPOSITION
Structural presupposition can be defined as the assumption that can be associated with the use of certain phrases and words. In English language, wh-questions are good examples which can be interpreted as presuppositions, especially when the information is known when using such questions. This means that the question asked already have an answer, what us being looked for is the confirmation or clarification of what is already known. Examples below will show exactly how the wh-question present presuppositions to the speaker and the listener.

When did he arrive back home?
(>> he arrived)
Why did you buy the book?
(>> you bought the book)
Where have you hid my phone?
(>> you have hid my phone)
When did he travel to South Africa?
(>> he travelled to South Africa)
(Note: >> is used to show what the given example presupposes).

From all the examples above, it is clear that what the speaker is saying, the listener already knows that it has happened. All that is being presented or said is necessarily true. One may say or perceive that the speaker want confirmation or clarity of what he or she is saying. From example 2, when the speaker says “why did you buy the book?” the listener already know that he or she bought the book, now what is being asked can be perceived as looking for a reason for buying the book.

NON-FACTIVE PRESUPPOSITION
Just from the term ‘non-factive’, one can conclude that this is the assumption that what is being said is not true. This assumption is based on the imaginative context. Verbs that are compatible with or used with this assumption are; “dream”, “imagine” and “pretend”. The use of these verbs clearly show that what follows is not true. Examples below will show how non-factive presupposition can be identified.

They imagined they were in America.

(>> They are not in America)
She dreamed that she was rich.

(>> She is not rich).

She pretended to be busy.

(>> She is not busy)
From the examples above, we can conclude that what is being said or implied is not true because of the verbs that are used. Nothing can be accounted for in reality.

COUNTERFACTUAL PRESUPPOSITION
The assumption found in counterfactual presupposition is that what is being presupposed is untrue, not only that hat is being presupposed is untrue but counters what is true. It is contrary or opposite to the facts that are being presented. In most cases, the ‘if’ clause is used to show that what is being said is not true at the time of utterance. Examples below will show the use of ‘if’ clause to show counterfactual presupposition.

If you were my son, I would not allow you to do this.

(>> you are not my son)
If you were my girlfriend, I would take you out.

(>> you are not my girlfriend)
PRESUPPOSITION TRIGGERS
“It is true that the linguistic facts to be explained by a theory of presupposition are for the most part relations between linguistic items, or between a linguistic expression and a proposition” (Stalnaker 1974: 200). A presupposition trigger is a construction or item that signals the existence of presupposition in an utterance. Such structures include:
Definite expressions:
p: John saw the man with two heads
q: There is a man with two heads
Cleft sentences or pseudo cleft sentence:
p: It was Henry that visited Rome
q: Someone visited Rome
p: What John lost was his notebook
q: John lost something
Lexical triggers such as factive verbs:
P: Mary realized that she was in debt
q: Mary was in debt
p: They both regretted eating the banana
q: They ate the banana
Change of state verbs
p: Have you started exercising regularly
q: you didn’t exercise
ENTAILMENT
In pragmatics, entailment can be defined as the relationship that is found between two sentences, where the truth of one sentence requires the truth on another sentence. Saeed defines entailment as “a truth relation between sentences which holds regardless of the empirical truth of the sentences (Saeed 1997: 90). We defined entailment in purely semantic terms: an entailment relation between two propositions must follow directly from the meanings of the propositions, and does not depend on the context of the utterance (Kroeger 2018). The truth of sentence B requires the truth of sentence A. This means that entailment can be referred to as a relationship that is found between two propositions that are expressed by two sentences.

Examples:
Matome is an intelligent student.

Ent: Matome is a student.

From the above sentence, we can see that the sentence “Matome is student” in its preceding sentence.
Raymond and Lorato flunked.

Ent: Lorato flunked.

Lorato or Raymond flunked.

Ent: Someone flunked.

Mary broke the window.

Ent: The is window broken
Tumelo and Ditiro went to the party.

Ent: Ditiro went to the party.

Ent: Tumelo went to the party.

Thabo is a bachelor.

Ent: Thabo is not married.

Pq
T>T
F<T or F
F?F
T or F?T
From the above sentences, one can note that there are sentences that are entailed on the other sentences. The “Thabo is a bachelor” entails “he is a bachelor” when the pronoun ‘he” refers to ‘Thabo’. To the hearer, this will make sense because they already know that a bachelor the speaker is referring to is Thabo.

SIMILARITIES BEYWEEN ENTAILMENT AND PRESUPPOSITION
There is less similarity between presupposition and entailment (Yule, 1996). This is because they both fall under the concept of sentence relation. Also, entailment and presupposition can be tested under negation. It is under this test that the similarities that they have are distinguished as entailment cannot be negated whilst presupposition can be negated. Entailment is semantic while presupposition is pragmatic. With this, we can see that semantics and pragmatics are two complementary, non-overlapping disciplines. This is because pragmatics mainly deals with the use of language while semantics deals with the content and truth conditions.
It is surprising that Magang passed the test.

Presupposition: Magang passed the test.

From the above sentence, the content is about Magang passing the test. The truth of the sentence is that indeed Magang passed the test. The speaker assumes that the listener already has the knowledge that Magang passed the test.

Thabo is a bachelor.

Ent: Thabo is not married.

In the above sentence, we can clearly see that the meaning is on what the sentence is implying, not the context in which the sentence is used. The sentence is used to describe Thabo as a bachelor, but the meaning derived from the sentence is that Thabo is not married or Thabo is single.

DIFFERENCE BETWEEN ENTAILMENT AND PRESUPPOSITION
There is an important difference between entailment and presupposition with regard to how the nature of the speech act being performed affects the inference (Kroeger 2018). Presupposition and entailment are different. This is because they do not have the same common goal. For one to notice the difference between Entailment and Presupposition, there are aspects that are used. These aspects are; meaning, speaker vs sentence and truth. Below will be the elaboration of three aspects and how they are used to test the diference.

MEANING
When using the context of meaning, we define exactly what each concept mean. Entailment is the relationship that is found between sentences or propositions. This means that entailment deals with sentences not utterances. Presupposition is basically an assumption that a speaker makes prior to making an utterance. To further explain this, we can say presupposition deals only with utterances not sentences. This is because what is presupposed is known to the listener or hearer.

SPEAKER VS SENTENCE
Sentences have entailment while speakers have presuppositions. This is because entailments depend on sentences that are presented and presuppositions depend on utterances.

TRUTH
Presupposition and entailment differ. Under truth, entailment and presupposition are subjected to negation. Entailment does not survive negation while presupposition survives negation.

When a presupposing sentence is negated, the presupposition survives as in examples 1 and 2:
I regret studying law
Pres: I studied law
I do not regret studying law
Pres: I studied law

However, in entailment, negating the entailing sentence results in the failure of the entailment as in the following examples:
Peter is my brother.

I have a brother (entailment holds)
Peter is not my brother

I have a brother (we are not sure whether I have a brother or not hence entailment no longer holds)
Between sentence 4 and 5, there is no entailment because sentence 5 cannot be said to be entailed in sentence 4.

Presupposition also holds in questioning, embedding with modals and in conditional clauses:
The king of France is bald.

Pres: There is a King of France.

Is the king of France bald?
Pres: There is King of France.

The King of France might be bald.

Pres: There is a King of France.

If the King of France is bald, then he should wear a hat.

Pres: There is a King of France.

CONFUSION
For someone who has not been taught about presupposition and entailment, there is a lot of confusion that is experienced. This is because on may not be able to tell whether a sentence is a presupposition or an entailment. Often than not, graduates confuse these two because they fail to know exactly where they belong. If one can be able to class presupposition and entailment, then there will not be any confusion. For example, students may mistake presupposition as entailment. The obvious case will be because of ignorance and lack of understanding the concepts as to how they work. For example, when given sentences to show if they are presuppositions or entailments, students have a hard time in distinguishing between the two.
For the confusion to be cleared, they must know that PRESUPPOSITION depend on utterances made by the speaker because the assumption is that already the listener has the knowledge of what is being said.
1.It is surprising that Magang passed the test.

Presupposition: Magang passed the test.

2.It is not surprising that Magang passed the test.

Presupposition: Magang passed the test.

From the above sentences, whether the speaker saying the opposite of what is already there, when negated, the statements or utterances survives. Thus, the main characteristic that they should use to test if the utterance is a presupposition, they should subject it to negation.

With entailment, students should always know that entailment does not survive negation. As a result, when subjecting a statement to negation and it fails, they should know that it’s obviously entailment. The Example below will help to clarify what they should understand about entailment.

References
BIBLIOGRAPHY Frege, G. (1959). The Foundations of Arithmetic. Oxford: Blackwell Publishers.

Gadzar, G. (1979). Pragmatics: Implicature, Presupposition, and Logical Form. London: Academic Press.

Kroeger, P. (2018). Analyzing Meaning: An introduction to semantics and pragmatics. Berlin: Language Science Press.

Saeed, J. (1997). Semantics. Oxford: Blackwell Publishers.

Seuren, P. (1997). Presupposition (in Lamarque Peter V. and R.E Asher). Concise Encyclopedia of Philosophy of Language, 359-69.

Stalnaker, R. (1974). Pragmatic Presuppositions (in Milton K. Munitz and Peter K. Unger (eds.). Semantics and Philosophy.

Stephen, C. L. (1983). Pragmatics. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Yule, G. (1996). Pragmatics. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Post Author: admin