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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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From Seeing to Reporting. Grammaticalization of Evidentiality in Spanish Constructions with "ver" (‘to see’) (Dorota Kotwica)


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From Seeing to Reporting. Grammaticalization of Evidentiality in Spanish Constructions with ver (‘to see’)1

Abstract: This paper focuses on several fixed constructions of Spanish ver (discourse marker por lo visto), as well as different semi-fixed constructions (por lo que se ve, por lo que se ha visto, por lo visto + complement clause, etc.) with two main goals. First, our objective is to analyse the formal parameters of fixation that allow for treating these constructions as genuine evidential expressions in Spanish. These parameters are mainly related to such syntactic properties as autonomy, position and presence of complements. Our second goal is to analyse the correlation between the different degrees of fixation of the constructions and the types of evidential meanings they can express.         We argue that not only is the fixation a crucial criterion for recognizing evidential units, but it also leads to a shift of evidential meanings towards more indirect meaning. The semi-fixed constructions show a tendency to be less directly related with the vision than the free uses. Moreover, the ascending in the fixation scale (towards more fixation) is parallel to ascending in the hierarchy of indirect meanings within the evidential domain (towards more indirect sources of information).

Keywords: evidentiality – verbs of perception – hierarchy of evidential meanings – Spanish – discourse markers – grammaticalization – fixation scale – to see


In Spanish, evidentiality can be expressed by different mechanisms, including lexical items, verbal tenses, modal...

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