Evidentiality, modality, focus and other puzzles

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Metadiscourse is a fundamental property of human communication in a way similar to speech acts. From a cross-linguistic study of metadiscourse, we can learn ‘how humans bridge the divide between self and others’ in communication. This chapter concentrates on those pragmatic aspects of metadiscourse which are associated, in some languages, with markers of evidentiality, epistemic modality, and focus (information structure). With respect to typological comparison, I advocate a domain-centered, onomasiologically-oriented approach. I argue that we have to distinguish between a subjective, speaker-related dimension of metadiscourse and an intersubjective, interactionally-oriented one in order to solve some longstanding puzzles in this domain. Data from Quechua, Tibetan, Hungarian, Albanian, and some other languages is used to support the presented claims. Keywords: Albanian; epistemic modality; evidentiality; focus; Hungarian; information structure; metadiscourse; mirative; Quechua; Tibetan


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