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A New Angle on an Oid Theme: Epistemie Modality Reconsidered

Marta Carretero
1996 unpublished
The menegrapb here reviewed is a provisional draft of a beok. Its aims are twofold: lo contribute te a bener understanding ofepistemic modality botb in itself and also as part of tIte conceptual structure (i.e. the erganizatien of the individual's knewledge of the world and of the processing systems which manipulate this knowledge). Chapter 1 is introductor>'; chapters 2, 3 and 4 cencem dic first aim, and chapter 5 the secend. In order te situate this werk in its centext in the literature, 1
more » ... he literature, 1 will mate a few remarks about recent werks en epistemie modality. Ihe study of medality, traditienally fecused en modal verbs, has broadened its seope in several directiens. Tbis broadening has been especially notable for epistemic medality, as the fellowing facts attest: 1) The linguistic concept of epistemie modality has been increasingí>' dissociated from tbe legical concept based en the notions of possibility and necessity, according te which epistemie modality concemed different degrees of prebability. In man>' recent werks epistemic modality cevers alt the means by which the speaker modifies bis or fier commiíment te what s/he is saying, no matter whether they convey definite degrees of probability or not. An instance of this shift is Stubbs (1986:1-2), who identifies modality with the speaker's point of view tewards what s/he says in terms of commitment and detachment. 2) As a consequence of this conceptual change, the number of expressions included in epistemic modality has witnessed an impertant mercase. Palmer (1986: 20-21 and 66-76) considers that evidentials are epistemic; Coates (1987, >990) includes in her analysis of epistemie expressiens tag questions and the degree adverbs slightly a bit and quite, as well as the hedge sort of and the disceurse marker 1 mean. Estudios Ingleses de/a