Presupposition in discourse: theoretical and methodological issues

Journal article

Polyzou, A. 2014. Presupposition in discourse: theoretical and methodological issues. Critical Discourse Studies. 12 (2), pp. 123-138.
AuthorsPolyzou, A.

This paper is concerned with the concept of ‘presupposition’, specifically as it is applied in critical approaches to discourse analysis such as Critical Discourse Analysis or Societal Pragmatics, and proposes a systematisation of a socio-cognitive approach to the concept. Presupposition analysis is crucial for uncovering naturalised ideologies underlying discourse, and examining manipulative functions of discourse, especially strategies making it socially or cognitively harder to challenge ideological assumptions. However, the way presupposition is analysed in current critical discourse analysis is not methodologically consistent and not necessarily theoretically consistent with an understanding of discourse as socio-cognitively grounded social practice (the major overarching tenet of critical discourse analysis). I demonstrate this through a brief overview of the two main current approaches to presupposition in discourse analysis – the truth conditional and the socio-cognitive one. I propose examining presupposition on different levels of analysis, ranging from lexical-item triggered presuppositions to discourse presuppositions and mutually presupposed pragmatic competence.

KeywordsPresupposition; ideology; critical discourse analysis; pragmatics
JournalCritical Discourse Studies
Journal citation12 (2), pp. 123-138
PublisherTaylor & Francis
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)
Publication dates
Print22 Dec 2014
Publication process dates
Deposited19 Jul 2019
Output statusPublished
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Pragmatics and critical discourse studies
Polyzou, A. 2018. Pragmatics and critical discourse studies. in: Flowerdew, J. and Richardson, J. (ed.) The Routledge Handbook of Critical Discourse Studies Routledge. pp. 195-207