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The grammatical nature of some epistemic-evidential adverbs in spoken Italian

Abstract : This article deals with some adverbs and adverbial constructions expressing epistemic modality in Italian. These forms are commonly considered as fully lexical. It will be shown, though, that they can be compared to grammatical forms, at least to an extent. In fact, on the one hand they are organized in a closed lexical paradigm characterized by semantic complementarity and seemingly easy to be combined with the paradigm opposing the grammatical epistemic forms. On the other hand each of these adverbs preferentially correlates with a 'discourse configuration', i.e., a portion of discourse characterized by a particular geometry, comparable to a large-scope construction. These facts suggest including epistemic adverbs and adverbial construction in the analysis of the grammatical category of 'epistemic modality' rather than excluding them as merely lexical. More generally, the dichotomy between grammar and discourse seems in need of rethinking not merely by considering discourse as the diachronic source for grammatical forms, but also by hypothesising that grammatical categories are expressed not only at a morphological level, but also in discourse structure
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Contributor : Paola Pietrandrea <>
Submitted on : Wednesday, February 1, 2012 - 1:48:22 PM
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Paola Pietrandrea. The grammatical nature of some epistemic-evidential adverbs in spoken Italian. Italian Journal of Linguistics / Rivista di linguistica, Pacini Editore S.p.A, 2007, 19 (1), pp.39-63. ⟨hal-00665200⟩

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