Edited by Mar Garachana Camarero, Sandra Montserrat Buendia and Claus Dieter Pusch
[IVITRA Research in Linguistics and Literature 31] 2022
► pp. 63–85
In Romance, epistemic readings of modal verbs have traditionally been dealt with in terms of probability or epistemic commitment of the speaker (Spanish deber, French devoir, Italian dovere). Over the last years, new contributions have suggested the shared epistemic and evidential nature of these auxiliary verbs, with special attention to their evidential inferential value (cf. Squartini 2004, 2008, Pietrandrea 2005, Cornillie 2007). Moreover, Cornillie (2009) argues that an evidential expression can have different epistemic readings and, hence, often demonstrates varying degrees of commitment. This chapter is concerned with the rise of the evidential reading of the Catalan modal verb deure which emerges from original dynamic and deontic readings (Sentí 2017). An in-depth analysis of the semantic and pragmatic features of the bridging contexts attested in the corpus (CICA) will account for the conventionalization of the new meaning between the origins of the Catalan language and the 16th century. The analysis of the empirical data confirms the view of deure as an evidential verb, with only secondary epistemic effects. In line with Cornillie (2009), inferential readings cannot be defined in terms of a specific degree of epistemic commitment.