Article published in:

Linguistic Variation Yearbook 2007
General Editor: Jeroen van Craenenbroeck
[Linguistic Variation Yearbook 7] 2007
► pp. 201–254

Evidentials as epistemic modals: Evidence from St'át'imcets

This paper argues that evidential clitics in St’át’imcets (a.k.a. Lillooet; Northern Interior Salish) must be analyzed as epistemic modals.We apply a range of tests which distinguish the modal analysis from the main alternative contender (an illocutionary operator analysis, as in Faller 2002), and show that the St’át’imcets evidentials obey the predictions of a modal analysis. Our results support the growing body of evidence that the functions of encoding information source and epistemic modality are not necessarily distinct. The St’át’imcets data further provide a novel argument against the claim that evidentiality and epistemic modality are separate categories. Many authors argue that evidentials differ from modals in that the former do not encode speaker certainty (see, e.g., de Haan 1999; Aikhenvald 2004).We argue that modals are also not required to encode speaker certainty; we provide evidence from St’át’imcets that marking quantificational strength is not an intrinsic property of modal elements.

Keywords: evidentiality, epistemic modality, Salish

Published online: 06 June 2008

Cited by

No author info given
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This list is based on CrossRef data as of 16 november 2018. Please note that it may not be complete. Sources presented here have been supplied by the respective publishers. Any errors therein should be reported to them.

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