Edited by Silvio Cruschina and Eva-Maria Remberger
[Journal of Historical Linguistics 7:1/2] 2017
► pp. 111–133
This article studies the evolution, from Medieval to Modern French, of three evidential markers that are semantically related from a diachronic perspective: il m’est avis que ‘I think that’, ‘it seems to me that’, apparemment ‘apparently’, and il paraît que ‘it seems that, apparently’. This study demonstrates the rise of the modal and evidential uses of the markers in question, from the Medieval period onwards, and provides a semantic characterization of these three epistemic-evidential markers in order to precisely grasp the evolution of their meaning. Using information from a number of databases, this article provides empirical support for the study of the different types of evidentiality, their evolution, and their interaction with the epistemic commitment of the speaker and the degree of certainty. The three markers have evolved towards greater subjectivity and a lower degree of certainty. Their historical semantic description shows that a marker may shift diachronically between various types of evidence.