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date: 21 February 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter deals with the relation between the notional domains of information source and epistemic modality. It surveys various approaches to this relation and the cross-linguistic patterns of the way in which linguistic units (of diverse formats) with evidential or epistemic meanings develop extensions whereby they encroach into each other’s domains. Meaning extensions in either direction can adequately be captured, and confusion between both domains can be avoided, only if in the analysis of the meaning of such units (a) an onomasiological and semasiological perspective and (b) a coded-inferred divide are distinguished. Thus, epistemic extensions often arise as Generalized Conversational Implicatures (GCIs). Concomitantly, reliability functions as a mechanism that mediates between, but cannot be identified with, the contributions of evidential and epistemic meanings. Reliability, together with the predictability of specific markers and discourse expectations, is considered responsible for the rise of epistemic GCIs.

Keywords: information source, epistemic modality, reliability, Generalized Conversational Implicatures, coded-inferred divide, meaning extensions, onomasiological/semasiological analysis

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