LINGUIST List 21.4863|
Fri Dec 03 2010
Diss: Semantics: Murray: 'Evidentiality and the Structure of Speech...'
Editor for this issue: Mfon Udoinyang
To post to LINGUIST, use our convenient web form at http://linguistlist.org/LL/posttolinguist.cfm.
1. Sarah Murray ,
Evidentiality and the Structure of Speech Acts
Message 1: Evidentiality and the Structure of Speech Acts
From: Sarah Murray <sarah.murraycornell.edu>
Subject: Evidentiality and the Structure of Speech Acts
E-mail this message to a friend
Institution: Rutgers University
Program: Department of Linguistics
Dissertation Status: Completed
Degree Date: 2010
Author: Sarah Elizabeth Murray
Dissertation Title: Evidentiality and the Structure of Speech Acts
Dissertation URL: http://conf.ling.cornell.edu/sem/Murray_Thesis-Rutgers-2010.pdf
Subject Language(s): Cheyenne (chy)
Many languages grammatically mark evidentiality, i.e., the source of
information. In assertions, evidentials indicate the source of information
of the speaker while in questions they can indicate the expected source of
information of the addressee. This dissertation examines the semantics and
pragmatics of evidentiality and illocutionary mood, set within formal
theories of meaning and discourse. The empirical focus is the evidential
system of Cheyenne (Algonquian: Montana), which is analyzed based on
several years of fieldwork by the author.
In Cheyenne, evidentials are part of the illocutionary mood paradigm. Based
on this grammatical system and crosslinguistic data in the literature, I
propose a new theory of evidentials. I argue that evidentials contribute
not-at-issue content, which cannot be directly challenged or denied. This
content is added directly to the common ground, without negotiation. In
contrast, at-issue content, the main point of a sentence, is proposed to
the common ground, up for negotiation.
This analysis of evidentials implies a more articulated theory of assertion
and other speech acts. In particular, I argue that all speech acts are
structured into three components: presentation of the at-issue proposition,
a non-negotiable update that directly restricts the common ground, and a
negotiable update that imposes structure on the common ground. I implement
this proposal in an update semantics with individual, modal, and
propositional discourse referents. The distinction between at-issue and
not-at-issue information comes out as an instance of grammatical centering
in the modal domain. The presentation of the at-issue proposition is
modeled as the introduction of a propositional discourse referent. This
predicts that only the at-issue proposition can be referred to in
subsequent discourse, and the non-challengeability of the evidential falls
out as a special case of propositional anaphora.
The proposed analysis can be extended to evidentials and related phenomena
in other languages. While there are real crosslinguistic differences in the
behavior of evidentials, there are also many commonalities. The proposed
analysis captures the properties that all evidential systems share, but is
fine-grained enough to account for variation. On this analysis, evidentials
crosslinguistically form a natural semantic class.
Read more issues|LINGUIST home page|Top of issue
Page Updated: 03-Dec-2010
While the LINGUIST List makes every effort to ensure the linguistic relevance of sites listed
on its pages, it cannot vouch for their contents.