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How can I lie if I am telling the truth?

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Abstract

The major part of my contribution will concentrate on the close relation between <i>epistemic modality</i> and <i>evidentiality</i> and the notions of <i>truth value</i>, indirect speech acts and conversational implicature (cf. Kosta 2005; Kosta 2011b). It is well attested in the literature that the epistemic modal adverb Russian <i>o&#269;evidno</i>, Czech <i>o&#269;ividn&#283;</i>, German <i>offensichtlich</i>, Italian <i>ovviamente</i> can have different interpretation depending on the conversation situation, truth values and scope relations (cf. Kosta 2011a; von Fintel and Gillies 2010; Kratzer 2010). Even a <i>bona fide</i> &#8220;epistemic&#8221; modal can have two interpretations: a &#8216;strong&#8217; interpretation, which &#8211; at least with necessity modals &#8211; commits the speaker to the truth of the proposition the modal scopes over (von Fintel and Gillies 2010), and a &#8216;weak&#8217; interpretation, which is relativized to the content of some source of information that may or may not be faithful to reality. In order to be able to decide whether epistemic particles and modals are strong or weak we have to differentiate between different sources of <i>conversational backgrounds</i>. Following the findings in the research of notional category of modals in Kratzer (2010), the proposed analysis of modals allows for one modal parameter to be fixed by the context of use. It implies that that parameter is responsible for the variety of interpretations modals can receive.

References

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