Source vs. Stance: On the Relationship between Evidential and Modal Expressions

Sumeyra Tosun, Jyotsna Vaid


Languages vary in how they encode and interpret attested information. The present research examined how users of Turkish and English construe utterances containing evidential information, in particular, whether evidential information is interpreted strictly as conveying source information (firsthand, or non-firsthand), or whether it is also perceived as signaling reliability of particular sources. Participants read sentences in their respective language presented in various source and modal forms and were asked to judge the source of information of the proposition and their confidence in whether the asserted event actually happened. It was found that there was sufficient information from evidential and modal expressions to make both source and probability of occurrence judgments, although the groups differed somewhat in their judgment patterns. The findings are taken to suggest that, for both Turkish and English speakers, evidentiality and epistemic modality overlaps to some extent but the two do not function exactly in the same way.

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www.dialogue-and-discourse.orgISSN: 2152-9620   Journal doi: 10.5087/dad