Edited by Renata Enghels
[Languages in Contrast 18:1] 2018
► pp. 99–121
This article focuses on three constructions in Spanish and Portuguese that contain epistemic and evidential modifiers. It proposes that these constructions can be analyzed as cases of near-synonymy. Two of them are attested cross-linguistically: in the first, the modifiers function as predicative adjectives in impersonal copula clauses, while in the second, they are sentential adverbs. In the third type of construction, typical of the languages under investigation, the modifiers are followed by the complementizer que and introduce root clauses. The first part of the article describes the interpretive contrasts between the three constructions. The modifiers receive a different (inter)subjective reading depending on the construction in which they appear. Additionally, they operate on different levels of (non-)at-issue meaning. The second part of the article presents a quantitative study that complements the insights from the first part. In this empirical study, the influence of the text type, the modifier and the language on the choice of construction is modeled statistically. The results support the idea that the constructions are stylistic near-synonyms since their choice is strongly determined by the text type they appear in.