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International Journal of Frontiers in Sociology, 2023, 5(6); doi: 10.25236/IJFS.2023.050613.

Contrastive Analysis of Presupposition Triggers in English and Chinese and a Review of Translation Strategies


Dehua Liu

Corresponding Author:
Dehua Liu

College of Foreign Languages, East China University of Science and Technology, Shanghai, 200231, China


The definition of presupposition is the fact and information accepted by mutual parties and the presupposition is usually conveyed with common sense or professional knowledge, which is a very common pragmatic phenomenon. For example: Please open the door. A simple request is likely to presuppose that the door is closed and the recipient is capable and willing to open the door. The factors to trigger the presupposition come from a certain phrase or word in a sentence, even the syntactic structure and context. Then these factors are called presupposition triggers. The presupposition triggers are divided into lexical presupposition triggers and syntactic presupposition triggers according to the existing form, vocabulary and sentence pattern of the language. Lexical presupposition triggers include proprietary descriptors, factual verbs, judgment verbs, state-changing verbs, meaning verbs, and repetitions. By contrast, syntactic presupposition triggers include non-restrictive relative clauses, splitting sentences, comparative sentences, time clauses, and subjunctive conditional sentences with opposite conditions. In both Chinese and English, presupposition triggers have similarities and differences. For example, when actual verbs are used as presupposition triggers in English, they are usually passive. Meanwhile, actual verbs are not converted into passive in Chinese. That is to say, when causative verbs are implemented, they are always written in active voice. However, factual verbs as presupposition triggers also indicate a certain state of mind no matter in English or Chinese. Through this paper, readers can have a deeper understanding of the presupposition triggers and the application in the translation process of people's daily English and Chinese in two different languages. Understanding presupposition triggers is very helpful in communicative life and the triggers can be used to summarize the the process of translation and the translation methods in English and Chinese.


presupposition; presupposition trigger; English; Chinese

Cite This Paper

Dehua Liu. Contrastive Analysis of Presupposition Triggers in English and Chinese and a Review of Translation Strategies. International Journal of Frontiers in Sociology (2023), Vol. 5, Issue 6: 76-86. https://doi.org/10.25236/IJFS.2023.050613.


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