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Evidentiality and the expression of speaker's stance in Romance languages and German

  • In recent years, the category of evidentiality has also come into use for the description of Romance languages and of German. This has been contingent on a change in its interpretation from a typological category to a semantic-pragmatic category, which allows an application to languages lacking specialised morphemes for the expression of evidentiality. We consider evidentiality to be a structural dimension of grammar, the values of which are expressed by types of constructions that code the source of information which a speaker imparts. If we look at the situation in Romance languages and in German, drawing a boundary between epistemic modality and evidentiality presents problems that are difficult to solve. Adding markers of the source of the speaker's knowledge often limits the degree of responsibility of the speaker for the content of the utterance. Evidential adverbs are a frequently used means of marking the source of the speaker's knowledge. The evidential meaning is generalised to marking any source of knowledge, what can beIn recent years, the category of evidentiality has also come into use for the description of Romance languages and of German. This has been contingent on a change in its interpretation from a typological category to a semantic-pragmatic category, which allows an application to languages lacking specialised morphemes for the expression of evidentiality. We consider evidentiality to be a structural dimension of grammar, the values of which are expressed by types of constructions that code the source of information which a speaker imparts. If we look at the situation in Romance languages and in German, drawing a boundary between epistemic modality and evidentiality presents problems that are difficult to solve. Adding markers of the source of the speaker's knowledge often limits the degree of responsibility of the speaker for the content of the utterance. Evidential adverbs are a frequently used means of marking the source of the speaker's knowledge. The evidential meaning is generalised to marking any source of knowledge, what can be regarded as a result of a process of pragmaticalisation. The use of certain means which also carry out evidential markings can even contribute to the blurring of the different kinds of evidentiality. German also has modal verbs which in conjunction with the perfect tense of the verb have a predominantly evidential use (sollen and wollen). But even here the evidential marking is not without influence on the modality of the utterance. The Romance languages, however, do not have such specialised verbs for expressing evidentiality in certain contexts. To do this, they mark evidentiality - often context bound - by verb forms such as the conditional and the imperfect tense. This article shall contrast the different architectures used in expressing evidentiality in German and in the Romance languages.show moreshow less

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Metadaten
Author:Gerda HaßlerORCiDGND
DOI:https://doi.org/10.1177/1461445614564522
ISSN:1461-4456 (print)
ISSN:1461-7080 (online)
Parent Title (English):Discourse studies : an interdisciplinary journal for the study of text and talk
Publisher:Sage Publ.
Place of publication:London
Document Type:Article
Language:English
Year of first Publication:2015
Year of Completion:2015
Release Date:2017/03/27
Tag:Adverbs; evidentiality; modal verbs; modality; pragmaticalisation
Volume:17
Issue:2
Pagenumber:28
First Page:182
Last Page:209
Organizational units:Humanwissenschaftliche Fakultät / Institut für Linguistik / Allgemeine Sprachwissenschaft
Peer Review:Referiert