A Context-sensitive and Functional Approach to Evidentiality in Spanish or Why Evidentiality needs a Superordinate Category
8 Overall evaluation of the results and future prospects
“[…] as with any scientific enterprise, almost any conclusion is subject to revi- sion”, says Portner (2009: 2) concerning modality, more precisely, with refer- ence to the question of what is to be called modal at all. All conclusions drawn in the present study – whether referring to epistemic modality, evidentiality, deixis, subjectivity, polyphony or to their relationship among each other – should certainly be termed ‘subject to revision’ as well. Even though being aware of the fact that all conclusions drawn in the present study might also be subject to revision, all conclusions drawn here are considered intersubjectively comprehensible. 8.1 Approach and data This study, in which a context-sensitive and functional approach to Spanish verbs of cognitive attitude, modal adverbs, modal verbs, the conditional form and the synthetic future was adopted, has not only proven that the Spanish lan- guage possesses linguistic means which may serve as evidential expressions but also subtly investigated their context-dependent use. In so doing, the analysis of the meanings of the linguistic expressions under discussion – concentrated on the conceptual meanings: meaning aspects that are encoded by a particular lin- guistic item were differentiated between meaning aspects that are contributed by contextually provided information. The approach was termed ‘context-sensitive’ and ‘functional’ but not ‘cog- nitive’ because what exactly the speakers/journalists were cognitively process- ing when expressing a certain utterance containing an evidential expression was regarded as not being detectable. It could only be traced back why a particular speaker in a particular situation used a particular linguistic expression...
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