Volume 15, Issue 1
  • ISSN 1566-5852
  • E-ISSN: 1569-9854
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Propositional attitude predicates, such as English think, guess and seem, occur parenthetically in many languages. In this article we pay attention to a group of propositional attitude predicates which can be labelled epistemic/evidential, namely appear, look, seem and sound, and which, in addition to degree of certainty, also give an indication of the evidential source. In this study we describe the different parentheticals available with these verbs, paying special attention to like-parentheticals (e.g. Going to be a big one, looks like), a development characteristic of American English. Using data from the Corpus of Historical American English (COHA, Davies 2010-) and the Corpus of Contemporary American English (COCA, Davies 2008-), we explore whether these developments can be conceptualised in terms of grammaticalisation and (inter)subjectification. In the structural domain, these parentheticals show fixation, decategorialisation and fusion. In the semantic-pragmatic domain, they show signs of generalisation of meaning and increased (inter)subjectivity.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
Keyword(s): (inter)subjectification; evidentiality; grammaticalisation; parentheticals
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