Children’s understanding of linguistic expressions of certainty and evidentiality

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Informants are not always trustworthy or knowledgeable. Therefore, it is no surprise that every language has means to indicate how the speaker acquired a piece of information, as well as means to indicate how certain the speaker is about the information he is describing. The former are often called expressions of evidentiality and the latter are called expressions of certainty. Currently, however, little is known about how and when children acquire those expressions, and how acquisition of those expressions interacts with conceptual understanding of information source and trustworthiness of informants. The aim of this chapter is to shed some light on the issues by looking into cross-linguistic differences and similarities in acquisition of grammaticalized expressions of certainty and evidentiality.


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