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Evidentiality and Modality in European Languages

Discourse-pragmatic perspectives


Edited By 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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"Presumptive" in Romanian Language, an Evidential and/or Epistemic Marker (Cecilia-Mihaela Popescu / Oana-Adriana Duta)


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Presumptive in Romanian Language, an Evidential and/or Epistemic Marker

Abstract: The range of forms known in Romanian linguistics as presumptive has an uncertain grammatical status within the verbal area of this linguistic system, but its meaning is unanimously accepted in recent literature as epistemic-inferential and/or evidential. This means that Romanian, unlike other Romance languages, has grammaticalised distinct forms of expressing evidential-epistemic inference, formally separating temporality from modality and/or evidentiality.         Our contribution will show that, in terms of evidentiality, presumptive has two types of meaning: an inferential meaning in independent, declarative sentences, where the speaker expresses an inference-based supposition, and a reportative meaning in adversative or concessive constructions, when the utterer does not take responsibility for the truthfulness of information from another source.

Keywords: Romanian presumptive – evidentiality – epistemic modality – inference-based supposition – reportative meaning – inductive inference – deductive inference – abductive inference

The Context of Research

In terms of typology, one of the features distinguishing Romanian language among Romance languages is the specific method of expressing suppositional indirect evidence. For instance, in a sentence such as (1a), Romanian language does not use the canonical form of the future tense, as happens in French (1b), Spanish (1c) or Italian (1d), but employs either a special structural type of its four prospective forms, i.e. oi cânta (the apheresized form of the auxiliary a vrea < Lat. velle, in the future tense and the short infinitive of...

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