Evidentials, genre and epistemic vigilance

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In many languages with a grammaticalised evidential system, there are conventional associations between certain genres and evidentials so that evidentials may be used as genre indicators. Aikhenvald (2004) shows that that cross-­linguistically there is a particularly strong connection between reported evidentials (as opposed to indicators of other evidentiality types) and the traditional narrative genre (as opposed to other genres). I argue that this connection between reported evidentials and the traditional narrative genre can be explained on the basis that true reported evidentials on the one hand, and traditional narratives on the other, activate procedures dedicated to epistemic vigilance and argumentation in ways that other evidentials and other genres do not.


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