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Evidentiality and Modality in European Languages

Discourse-pragmatic perspectives

Series:

Juana I. Marín-Arrese, Julia Lavid-López, Marta Carretero, Elena Domínguez Romero, Mª Victoria Martín de la Rosa and María Pérez Blanco

Evidentiality and Modality in European Languages focuses on discourse-pragmatic studies on the domains of evidentiality and epistemic modality, and also includes studies on deontic modality. The book presents ground-breaking research on the functions and the discourse-pragmatic variation of evidential expressions and modals in diverse discourses and genres, applying corpus-based methodologies. It offers unique features regarding content, usage and methodology, and comparative studies. The comparative viewpoint is addressed in contributions which provide a usage-based cross-linguistic account of the expression of evidentiality and modality in various European languages (English, French, Italian, Romanian and Spanish). The contributions are representative of the work on evidentiality and modality in European languages carried out in a substantial number of countries, Finland, France, Germany, Japan, Netherlands, Romania, Spain and Sweden.

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Section A. Evidentiality and Modality in European Languages

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Section A Evidentiality and Modality in European Languages Meri Larjavaara Reported Lies: Incredulous Evidentiality and Speaker’s Commitment1 Abstract: This paper discusses a particular case of reported speech in contemporary French, namely texts where the speaker reports lies s/he has been told, presenting them as lies. Evidentiality in the broad sense is strongly present. This kind of evidentiality will be called ‘incredulous evidentiality’. In fact, incredulous evidentiality includes not only reported lies but all cases in which the speaker reports information s/he believes is not true, and reported lies form one of its subtypes. I will briefly describe the reportative mechanisms of this particular kind of texts and secondly discuss the speaker’s commitment. In reportative evidentiality the speaker commits her/himself at least partially to the propositional content; in contrast to this, in incredulous evidentiality the speaker does not only distance him/herself from the propositional content of the reported speech but even denies it and thus commits him/ herself to its untruthfulness. Incredulous evidential discourse must thus be considered a category on its own. The texts under investigation are found on the internet, most commonly in different kinds of discussion forums. Keywords: evidentiality – lying – lies – truthfulness – untruthfulness – commitment – reported speech – polyphony – French Point of Departure Lying is a special kind of linguistic behaviour. Although it is obvious – by definition – that a liar does not respect the Gricean maxim of qual- ity, there is probably nothing peculiar in the discourse from a linguistic point of view, if s/he is successful in dismissing the...

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