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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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The Combination of Evidentiality and Epistemic Modality in Spanish. The Use of Probability Markers and Cognitive Verbs to Express Uncertainty (María José Barrios Sabador)


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The Combination of Evidentiality and Epistemic Modality in Spanish. The Use of Probability Markers and Cognitive Verbs to Express Uncertainty

Abstract: Cognitive verbs, just like probability markers, do not have a truth-veritative content. However, in stark contrast with them, their verbal condition involves introducing the conceptualizer in the conceptualized scene, in contrast to his absence when a probability marker is used. Probability markers shape an objective scene, where the perceived object becomes the focus of the conceptualization. Unlike them, cognitive verbs set up a subjective scene, with the conceptualizer being part of his utterance. Notwithstanding these two different constructions, research on twenty-three probability markers in five thousand texts of an oral corpus reveals the relative interaction between probability markers and cognitive verbs, a fact which implies the combination of epistemic and evidential resources for the same communicative purposes.

Keywords: probability markers – cognitive verbs – oral corpus – evidentiality – epistemic modality


The study presented here is part of a wider research agenda, which aims to analyze the performance of probability markers in oral texts. This wider research is part, in turn, of an academic work that examines the properties of these elements in their semantic, syntactic and pragmatic aspects (Barrios Sabador 2012).

The linguistic expression of probability, which can be defined as the manifestation of an oriented uncertainty, shows a great complexity in Spanish in the descriptive level, given the high...

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