Epistemic Markers

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  • Epistemic modality expresses the speaker's assessment about the truth of a proposition. The speaker may estimate that the event or state expressed in the main predicate is possible, probable, or certain, as in Example (1). Epistemic modality may include evidentials, or expressions that specify the source of information (e.g., hearsay or direct experience) as well as information status (e.g., new versus established or shared versus nonshared information). Using evidential markers, the speaker can convey to the hearer varying degrees of certainty of the proposition. On the whole, epistemic modality expresses the speaker's cognitive stance of an event as well as its information status in a discourse context. Depending on the semantic and morphological nature of the markers in the target language, children begin to produce ...

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