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At the juncture between evidentiality and argumentation : Evidential verb complementation

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The contribution discusses the theoretical problem of the relationship between evidentiality and argumentative justification. Within a framework that combines semantic and syntactic analysis with a topics-based approach to argument schemes, it is argued that the functional domains of information source and argumentation overlap in utterances in which the former is linguistically marked, rather than entailed or implicated: explicit linguistic evidential marking is a special case of argumentation. The connection between a proposition and its source gives rise to a class of arguments from a reliable procedure that are similar to arguments from authority. When the indicated source is an inferential procedure (rather than direct experience or hearsay), the evidential argument may be combined with additional arguments that lay out part of that procedure. The particular case of inferential sources is illustrated by means of an analysis of weakly grammaticalized constructions in Italian, based on verbs of thought, communication and perception that relate a propositional complement to a subject NP or to source / place complements of the verb. The analysis shows that such further complements can either refine the categorization of the inferential source signalled by the verb, thereby contributing to the main argument from a reliable procedure, or express a premise that allows the hearer to reconstruct the internal structure of the procedure.

Keywords: Argumentum Model of Topics; Italian; arguments from a reliable procedure; information source; lexical evidential constructions

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: May 4, 2020

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