Edited by Lena Ekberg and Carita Paradis
[Functions of Language 16:1] 2009
► pp. 63–88
Seem and evidentiality
The paper is an empirical, corpus-based analysis of the functions of seem with different complementation structures and in impersonal constructions as well as in combinations with an experiencer. The focus is on describing how evidentiality (e.g. inferencing/observation or hearsay evidence) interacts with degrees of certainty or factivity of the construction. Other features are subjectivity and intersubjectivity (shared or non-shared information). Translations from English into Swedish have been used to get a more fine-grained picture of the degree of certainty expressed by seem and its relationship to the type of evidence. The different constructions with seem and their functions are explained in a grammaticalization perspective. Seem conforms to a number of principles such as layering and divergence (Hopper). Seem to is the most grammaticalized form and can be regarded as an evidential marker which is similar to the modal auxiliaries.
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