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Detail of contribution

Auteur: Pei-Yi HSIAO

Evidentiality and Epistemic Modality: The case of phah4-sng3 in Taiwanese Southern Min

Abstract/Résumé: Phah4-sng3 'to intend' is an intentional verb in Taiwanese Southern Min, which means that an agent intends to do something or plans something (for someone). This use can be illustrated by (1-2), where phah4-sng3 takes a DP or a VP (or a non-finite IP) as its argument. (1) Tsit4-e5 tai7-tsi1 gua2 be7-hiau2 phah4-sng3. This-CL matter I can.not.know intend 'I don't know how to plan this matter.' (2) I1 phah4-sng3 kah4 hit4-e5 lang5 kiat4-hun1. He intend with that-CL person marry 'He intended to marry that person.' Intriguingly, the corpus study shows that contra its counterparts in many other languages, phah4-sng3 has two more uses in addition to being an intentional verb, as illustrated by (3-5). In (3-4), phah4-sng3 functions as a propositional attitude verb with the meaning "to think". As shown in (3-4), phah4-sng3 can go with other subject arguments besides the speaker and indicate their mental states. Another use of phah4-sng3 is illustrated in (5), which is a slifting construction. In (5), phah4-sng3 is used as a parenthetical verb, expressing the speaker's emotional attitude towards the prejacent proposition. Phah4-sng3 in this use can only be speaker-oriented, even though the speaker is not overtly realized. More diagnostic tests (e.g. question formation) can be given to differentiate between these two uses. (3) Lang5 khak4-sit8 e7 phah4-sng3 lau7-bu2 si7 gua2 hai7-si2-e5. Person indeed will think my.mother COP I kill-MOD 'Other people will indeed think that it is I who killed my mother.' (4) Gua2 phah4-sng3 i1 ti7 pang5-king1 lai7 teh4 khun3. I think he at room inside PROG sleep 'I think he is sleeping in the room.' (5) Bin5-a2-tsai3 phah4-sng3 e7 loh8-hoo7. Tomorrow think will rain 'It will rain tomorrow, I think.' Potts (2007) and Simons (2007) both suggest that parentheticals can be viewed as evidentials, which affect the epistemic threshold associated with a conversation, and Scheffler (2009) proposes a two-dimensional semantics for slifting constructions and V2 embedding constructions in German. The phenomenon in German that Scheffler discusses is similar to the case of phah4-sng3. In line with their ideas, this paper will argue for a non-unified analysis of the two idiosyncratic uses of phah4-sng3 (i.e. embedding and slifting), and approach its semantics in these two constructions. Phah4-sng3, when used as a parenthetical, is argued to express epistemic possibility with an inferential evidential signal, which can be derived from the speaker's attitude towards the prejacent. Phah4-sng3 is representative of the correlation and interaction between evidentiality and epistemic modality. The derivation of the three uses of phah4-sng3 will also be discussed in this paper.