Cognitive vs. emotive factives: An experimental differentiation


  • Kajsa Djärv
  • Jérémy Zehr
  • Florian Schwarz


A central question in current presupposition theory is what (sub-)classes of triggers there are and how they differ from one another (Abusch 2002; Sudo 2012; Tonhauser et al. 2013; Romoli 2012; Abrus´an 2016). Factives have traditionally been thought to presuppose the truth of their complements, but the potential need for further differentiation was present from the start, beginning with the distinction between semi-factives (e.g. discover) and ‘full’ factives (e.g. regret) by Karttunen (1971). However, the precise nature of the differences involved has remained elusive in theoretical terms, and key empirical properties have been difficult to pin down experimentally (e.g. Jayez et al. 2015). We present new experimental evidence confirming specific differences between emotive factives (be happy, appreciate) and cognitive factives (be aware, realize) using a yes/no-continuation acceptability rating task (Cummins et al., 2013). We spell out an analysis of the demonstrated contrast in terms of a distinction between triggers based on whether or not their presupposed content is encoded as part of the conventionally entailed content (Sudo, 2012; Klinedinst, 2010), and also discuss the broader theoretical implications of our experimental results.


How to Cite

Djärv, K., Zehr, J., & Schwarz, F. (2019). Cognitive vs. emotive factives: An experimental differentiation. Proceedings of Sinn Und Bedeutung, 21(1), 367–386. Retrieved from

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