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date: 22 January 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This article surveys and discusses the core points of contact between notions of information structure and notions of presupposition. Section 1 is devoted to the ‘weak’ presuppositional semantics for focus developed by Mats Rooth, describing its properties with regard to verification and accommodation and showing that it can successfully account for a wide range of phenomena. Section 2 examines the stronger thesis that focus–background structures give rise to existential presuppositions, and finds the counterarguments that have been raised to carry considerable weight. Section 3 looks into the relationship between Givenness and run-of-the-mill presuppositions, finding that this relationship is looser than might be expected, mainly because a presupposition may be in need of focus marking instead of givenness marking.

Keywords: presupposition, focus, background, givenness

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