Tosun, Sumeyra (2014-05). Source vs. Stance? On the Interpretation and Use of Evidential Utterances by Turkish- vs. English-Speaking Adults. Doctoral Dissertation. Thesis uri icon

abstract

  • This research empirically examined the relationship between evidentiality and modality in sentence interpretation by Turkish vs. English speakers and the influence of different forms of evidential marking on the establishment of discourse coherence. Evidentiality, a property, commonly refers to the linguistic marking (in the grammar or the lexicon) of source of knowledge about an asserted event. What is unclear is whether this property also conveys epistemic value (or stance information). This research examined this issue by speakers of Turkish (in which evidentiality is marked in the grammar) and English (in which evidentiality is marked in the lexicon). In Experiment 1 participants were presented with identical sentences differing only in whether evidential or modal markers were inserted. For each sentence they were asked to make judgments about the source of evidence and about their relative confidence about whether the asserted event had actually occurred. The results demonstrated that both Turkish and English speakers found that there was enough information to judge the source and degree of certainty of various evidential and modal expressions. The results support the view that there is a close relationship between evidentiality and modality. Further, it was found that the linguistic level of evidentiality indication affected the source and epistemic value interpretations. Evidential expressions were interpreted in more varied ways by Turkish speakers, while modal expressions were interpreted in more varied ways by English speakers. The second experiment used a discourse completion task in which participants read two sentences containing different evidential expressions that resulted in somewhat contradictory information. Participants were asked to supply a third sentence that would make sense of the first two. Along with the evidentiality manipulation, two other variables were manipulated: whether the evidential information was presented first or second and whether the asserted facts were general or particular. The results suggested that evidentiality marking affected speakers' sense-making process but was not the only factor influencing their response, since presentation order and the type of information (general vs. particular) also mattered. Interestingly, Turkish speakers appeared to place more emphasis on the nature of the fact in arriving at their response, whereas English speakers were more influenced by the order of presentation of the information. Taken together, the findings suggest that evidentiality conveys epistemic value of the reported event along with source of knowledge. Further, evidentiality - in interaction with contextual factors -- influences speakers' attempts at establishing discourse coherence.
  • This research empirically examined the relationship between evidentiality and
    modality in sentence interpretation by Turkish vs. English speakers and the influence of
    different forms of evidential marking on the establishment of discourse coherence.
    Evidentiality, a property, commonly refers to the linguistic marking (in the grammar or
    the lexicon) of source of knowledge about an asserted event. What is unclear is whether
    this property also conveys epistemic value (or stance information). This research
    examined this issue by speakers of Turkish (in which evidentiality is marked in the
    grammar) and English (in which evidentiality is marked in the lexicon).

    In Experiment 1 participants were presented with identical sentences differing
    only in whether evidential or modal markers were inserted. For each sentence they were
    asked to make judgments about the source of evidence and about their relative
    confidence about whether the asserted event had actually occurred. The results
    demonstrated that both Turkish and English speakers found that there was enough
    information to judge the source and degree of certainty of various evidential and modal
    expressions. The results support the view that there is a close relationship between
    evidentiality and modality. Further, it was found that the linguistic level of evidentiality
    indication affected the source and epistemic value interpretations. Evidential
    expressions were interpreted in more varied ways by Turkish speakers, while modal
    expressions were interpreted in more varied ways by English speakers.

    The second experiment used a discourse completion task in which participants
    read two sentences containing different evidential expressions that resulted in somewhat
    contradictory information. Participants were asked to supply a third sentence that would
    make sense of the first two. Along with the evidentiality manipulation, two other
    variables were manipulated: whether the evidential information was presented first or
    second and whether the asserted facts were general or particular. The results suggested
    that evidentiality marking affected speakers' sense-making process but was not the only
    factor influencing their response, since presentation order and the type of information
    (general vs. particular) also mattered. Interestingly, Turkish speakers appeared to place
    more emphasis on the nature of the fact in arriving at their response, whereas English
    speakers were more influenced by the order of presentation of the information.

    Taken together, the findings suggest that evidentiality conveys epistemic value of
    the reported event along with source of knowledge. Further, evidentiality - in interaction
    with contextual factors -- influences speakers' attempts at establishing discourse
    coherence.

publication date

  • May 2014