Presupposition Accommodation

The term Presupposition Accommodation is standardly used to describe the situation when a presupposition that is not satisfied by the context does not lead to an infelicitous utterance but rather makes the hearer pretend as if it was satisfied, in the spirit of Lewis (1979). Although the conditions under which this process can apply are still not well understood, it has been observed that there seems to be some correlation with the type of presupposition trigger and the difficulty to accommodate its respective presupposition, particularly with respect to those triggers which have been argued to be anaphoric like too and again (e.g. Kripke 1990/2009). In this on-going project, I am investigating the relation between properties of different triggers with their accommodation difficulty experimentally. The hypothesis is that the processes underlying the “accommodation” of anaphoric presupposition triggers may be special as it requires the supplementation of additional content to saturate a variable which would otherwise be free. Moreover, variation across anaphoric triggers may be due to different semantic types (e.g. event vs individual) and the way we represent them.