On the exceptional status of reportative evidentials

Scott AnderBois


One of the central questions in the study of evidentials cross-linguistically is to what extent (and in what ways) evidentials differ across languages and across evidence types. This paper examines one such instance of variation: the ability for a single speaker to deny the scope of a reportative evidential, an instance of what we dub ‘reportative exceptionality’ (RE). Empirically, we show that RE is widely attested across a diverse range of reportatives. Theoretically, we propose a pragmatic account treating RE as an instance of pragmatically-induced perspective shift. Having done so, we propose a semantics for illocutionary evidentials on which reportatives are given a treatment uniform to other evidence types.

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3765/salt.v24i0.2424