“I saw ye Child burning in ye fire”

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This article explores the use of evidentials, or markers of source of information in witness depositions from England in the period 1680–1710. By comparing the results with those from a previous study on the Salem witch trials (Grund 2012), I point to significant similarities in the linguistic forms and deployment of markers signaling sensory evidence, inference, assumption, and quotatives (i.e. information based on what other people have said). I also demonstrate the importance of considering the socio-historical and situational context in the interpretation of the evidentials: the legal setting and concerns such as appearing reliable and credible or not providing potentially questionable evidence probably significantly influenced deponents’ choices of evidential strategies.


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