David J. Parnell’s Crash Course On Linguistic Presuppositions | Part 2 of 3 | Presuppositional Categories

Posted by: admin, In Category: Communication Strategy, Effective Communication, Hypnotic Language, NLP (Neurolinguistic Programming), Persuasion, Pragmatics

Yesterday we broke into presuppositions by defining the phrase and talking a bit about what they are. Today we are going to create a sharper focus and talk about the categories that presupposition can be broken up into. While we do this, we can also talk about what exactly they “DO” to the mind of the communication recipient when they are use in conversation. So let’s get right into it…

Imagine that you wake up one morning and you find yourself in a room… no doors, no windows… nothing but a light at the top. You are hungry, thirsty, scared… You ask yourself “What the hell happened? How did I get here?” As you begin to gather your senses, you look around and there on the floor is a big sheet of paper labeled with the phrase “DIRECTIONS FOR GETTING OUT OF HERE”…

You run and grab it and sure enough… this paper explains exactly what this room is, how you got here and how to get out… You follow them to a tee and BLAM… You are spit out of the room… As a sentence…

In this analogy, you are a pre-verbal thought and the paper you found is the battery of “presuppositions” whose knowledge is necessary for your existence to occur… Or in other words for you to be verbalized. Without this list of presuppositions, you would be trapped for ever… As a result of this necessary process, the only way that anyone’s thoughts will ever be processed and/or reach the surface is by “reading” this list of information.

More directly stated, thoughts and speech DO NOT WORK without presuppositions and this process is actually of great benefit to us as communication experts… If you know what you want to “happen” inside someone’s mind, you do have control over achieving this… You can help to dictate what “list” of information they are reviewing at the subconscious level… This list that we are talking about is a huge part of the construction of the visual, auditory and somatic “experience” that our language creates inside of someone’s head.

Although the exact amount of presuppositions floating around out there in the “communication-o-sphere” is an academically debatable figure, there are 8 categories in particular that are of major importance to us in the realm of persuasion and effective communication. They are as follows:

presuppositions for effective communication 300x247 David J. Parnell’s Crash Course On Linguistic Presuppositions | Part 2 of 3 | Presuppositional Categories

1. Existence – Certain characteristics, experiences or objects must “exist” in order for this type of phrase to be plausible. Without them, the phrase literally makes no sense at all and as a result these types of statements FORCE the mind to recall/behold that information if it is to follow along with your communication. For example:

  • There was so much water everywhere after the fireman finally arrived and put the fire out.
  • Presupposition may be:
    • That there was a fire truck there
    • That something was on fire
    • That there was a notification placed to the fire department about a fire, etc…

2. Awareness – Certain pieces of information must be necessarily “known”, and as such will be placed into your communication partner’s awareness for these phrases to be understood. What Awareness Presuppositions do is basically implant the existence of a prior knowledge of a particular piece of information without actually stating it. For Example:

  • Chuck was able to locate the broken bone quickly and set it before there was any damage.
  • Presupposition may be:
    • That Chuck has medical training.
    • That Chuck has intimate knowledge of anatomy
    • That Chuck knew that someone was hurt, etc…

3. Possibility – The concept of choice OR necessity (lack of choice) is automatically present in order for these phrases to mentally “work”. In most action phrases there is a fairly clear line drawn between having options and NOT having options. The communication of one or the other can alter the meaning of a statement dramatically. These are usually marked with words such as NEED (no options) or COULD (options). For Example:

  • Erik will NEED to get the tumor removed.
  • Presupposition may be:
    • That Erik’s cancer will kill him
    • Surgery is in Erik’s future
    • Erik will have a stay in a Hospital, etc…

4. Temporal – Certain and particular expanses of time are “present” in these phrases (past, present and/or future). The placement of these types of Presuppositions in a phrase will indicate that something:

  • A. Past – Already happened
  • B. Present – Is happening and/or is ongoing
  • C. Future – Will happen in the future.

For Example:

  • Jane really WOULD HAVE liked to have gone…
  • Presuppositions may be:
    • That Jane DIDN’T (past tense) go to the event
    • What ever the event was, it has already occurred
    • The event is no longer occurring, etc…

5. Ordinal - Sequential occurrences are inherent in these phrases and indicate a predetermined order of events. Not only is ordination extremely hypnotic in its nature, it carries strong “credibility” connotations when used in a phrase. In order for these types of phrases to make sense in the mind of the communication recipient, three things NEED to be accepted and/or evaluated:

  1. A beginning, middle and/or end of the sequence or in other words, a time line of occurrence.
  2. A specific syntax or order of events.
  3. The linking together or grouping of the events in a way that indicates similarity/familiarity and connection with each other.

The mental processing of these types of statements forces the mind to accept a vast amount of information in order for them to make sense. For Example:

  • He got up and walked over to the bar before he grabbed his coat and left…
  • Presuppositions may be:
    • That he was at a night club
    • That there was something at the bar that was necessary for him to do before getting his jacket
    • That he is now no longer at a night club
    • That his jacket WASN’T with him while he was in the night club, etc…

6. Exclusive/Inclusive Or – Strict categorization occurs in these phrases and inclusion or exclusion of specific information is necessary in order for your mind to process and understand these. What these phrases will in effect do is, in a covert fashion, very specifically limit and define the information and options available to someone. As with all of the presupposing phrases, in order for the mind to process the statements it will need to factor in the “limiting of information” conveyed by them. For example:

  • You can get the black or the brown belt.
  • The presuppositions may be:
    • That there are literally NO other options available aside from the black or brown belt.
    • That without the black or brown belt, the outfit won’t work, etc…

7. Cause-effect – These phrases will force the mind of the communication recipient to place the subject/s of discussion in either an action-origination category OR the action-receiving category of a phrase. This also indelibly links any subjects together and in the Cause-Effect relationship. In order for a mind to make sense of a cause-effect phrase it must process the information via that relationship. For example:

  • Every time she yells at me it makes me cry.
  • Presuppositions may be:
    • She yells at the person
    • The person’s happiness is based on the actions of another
    • The person has no control over their own emotions, etc…

8. Complex Equivalence – In order for a certain categorization or evaluation to exist or hold true, certain qualities will need to be  understood” as existing for these to make sense. In other words, for Action A to mean Evaluation B, Qualities C, D and E MUST exist if the phrase “A means B” is going to hold true. For example:

  • When she comes home late, it means that she doesn’t love me.
  • Presuppositions may be:
    • That she loves him in the first place
    • That she must have come home late at some point
    • That they have a home, etc…

So what this means is that when you are using presuppositions in your own communication, you are basically forcing your recipient into a door-less, windowless room with a list of instructions. They aren’t getting out of their either until they read that list of instructions, understand them and then follow them…

All of this may simply seem academic in it’s nature but rest assured that presuppositional language is used every single day by everyone you talk to. The magic that can arise from this is when you are able to use it volitionally. The hypnotic quality of presuppositions allows you to literally implant thoughts, concepts, images, notions, etc… into someone’s mind and all at a level well below critical thinking’s radar. In our next and final post we will take a look at some specific types of presuppositional phrases that you can put into use immediately.

To learn more about Presuppositions and other information that can help you refine your own effective communication, please visit the rest of my site The Communication Expert. Also, if I am online, please feel free to connect with me via Skype.


The Communication Expert | David J. Parnell

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