Evidentiality In Romance Languages. Explanatory Potential of a Concept and Its Applications In Pragmatics
Defined narrowly, evidentiality pertains to the sources of knowledge or evidence whereby the speaker feels entitled to make a factual claim. But evidentiality may also be conceived more broadly as both providing epistemic justification and reflecting speaker’s attitude towards the validity of the communicated information, and hearer’s potential acceptability of the information, derived from the degree of reliability of the source and mode of access to the information. Evidentiality and epistemic modality are subcategories of the same superordinate category, namely a category of epistemicity.
Since the first seminal works on evidentiality (Chafe and Nichols 1986), studies have for the most part centred on languages where the grammatical marking of the information source is obligatory (for example Willett 1988; Aikhenvald 2004). Recent years have witnessed a growing interest in the study of the domain of evidentiality in European languages, which rely on strategies along the lexico‐grammatical continuum. Assuming a broad conception of evidentiality and defining it as a functional category, we study linguistic means that fulfil the function of indicating the source of information for the transmitted content of a certain proposition in Romance languages.