Edited by Bert Cornillie and Juana I. Marín-Arrese
[Belgian Journal of Linguistics 29] 2015
► pp. 161–192
The article deals with tip effects between evidential and epistemic components in the meaning potential of evidential markers in Bulgarian, the focus being on sentential adverbs with inferential functions. We justify (and start with) the following assumptions: (i) for any unit we should distinguish its stable semantic meaning from its pragmatic potential which can be favored (or disfavored) by appropriate discourse conditions; (ii) there is a “trade off” between evidential and epistemic meaning components that are related to each other on the basis of mutual or one-sided implicatures; (iii) one-sided implicatures occur with certain hearsay markers whose epistemic implicatures can be captured as Generalized Conversational Implicatures (GCIs). On this basis, we show that (iv) GCIs work also with inferential markers; they can be classified depending on which component (the inferential or the epistemic one) can be downgraded more easily. A crucial factor favoring the inferential meaning is a perceptual basis of the inference. In general, (v) the more complicated the reconstruction of the cognitive (or communicative) basis leading to an inference, the clearer the epistemic function emerges while the evidential function remains in the background, and vice versa. The study is corpus-based and also includes an attempt at classifying micro- and macro-contextual conditions that (dis)favor a highlighting of the evidential function.