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This article provides an insight into the expression of reportative evidentiality in Spanish scientific articles published between 1799 and 1920. Central to the discussion is the presence and specificity of sources in reportative constructions. While contemporary scientific discourse prioritizes the use of specific, reportative-quotative evidentials, this is not a constant feature of articles analyzed in this study. In order to trace this historical variation, we established a classification of reportative constructions according to the specificity of the evidence they convey and we conducted both qualitative and quantitative analyses. According to our results, different specificity patterns were prominent in different temporal stages of the period under review. We argue that this can be interpreted in light of the growth and changing practices of the scientific community.
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Keywords: history of scientific discourse; reportative evidentiality; specificity of evidence

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: June 28, 2018

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