ObTrEx 1/2: Obligatory Triggers: Experimental Evidence

Principal investigator:
Prof. Dr. Sigrid Beck
Universität Tübingen

Project description:
The aim of the project is to find experimental evidence for or against the predictions of two competing theories on the obligatory insertion of presupposition triggers. One of the theories makes use of a pragmatic principle Maximize Presupposition, the other works with a formal approach to (sometimes mandatory) implicatures. The theories thus assume different mechanisms behind the insertion of obligatory triggers. They also differ with regard to the circumstances under which they assume triggers to be inserted obligatorily. Accordingly, they make different predictions with regard to the processing and interpretation of sentences where these triggers are inserted or missing. The project will collect empirical data which can verify or falsify the predictions of both theories and thereby help settle an ongoing theoretical debate. These empirical data include data from psycholinguistic as well as crosslinguistic research.