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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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Gender Differences and Similarities in the use of Inferential Evidentiality in Spoken British English: A Corpus-Based Study (Erika Berglind Söderqvist)


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Gender Differences and Similarities in the Use of Inferential Evidentiality in Spoken British English: A Corpus-Based Study1

Abstract: The present study investigates the variation between men and women in their preference for inferential evidentiality markers. Using spoken language data from the British National Corpus, a number of potential markers of inferential evidentiality (for example believe, imagine, must, obviously) have been analyzed for their evidential value as well as for pragmatic dimensions such as degree of certainty and (inter)subjectivity. The findings of the study show statistically significant variation between the male and the female respondents, and the subsequent analysis indicates, among other things, that the markers preferred by male speakers are those that tend to produce intersubjective assessments, whereas the markers preferred by female speakers are those that tend to produce subjective assessments. The findings of the analysis also suggest that there is no one-to-one correspondence between intersubjectivity and high confidence, or between subjectivity and low confidence; the explanation for this variation pattern appears to be more complex than that.

Keywords: evidentiality – corpus linguistics – gender – intersubjectivity – variation –inferential evidentiality – sociolinguistics – speech


The study of evidentiality in English has been the focus of a heated debate for most of the short time that it has been an active area of research. Aikhenvald (2007) argues that evidentiality does not exist in languages where it is not coded by a closed, grammaticalized system. Others...

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