Seuren, P. A. M.
Presupposition. In K. Brown (Ed.
), Encyclopedia of Language and Linguistics (vol. 10)
(pp. 80-87). Amsterdam: Elsevier.
Presupposition is a semantic device built into natural language to make sentences fit for use in certain contexts but not in others. A sentence carrying a presupposition thus evokes a context in which that presupposition is fulfilled. The study of presupposition was triggered by the behavior of natural language negation, which tends to preserve presuppositions either as invited inferences or as entailments. As the role of discourse became more apparent in semantics, presupposition began to be seen increasingly as a discourse-semantic phenomenon with consequences for the logic of language.