This paper examines how hearsay evidential markers in Korean are used within the pragmatic domain to serve a wide range of epistemic and politeness functions. In particular, we focus on a new paradigm of hearsay evidential markers — more specifically, the V-ta ha-X > V-ta-X type, among them -tako, -tamye, -tamyense, -tanun, and -tanta (see Ahn & Yap 2014) — and using data from the Sejong Contemporary Spoken Corpus, we examine the extended uses of these hearsay evidential markers in natural conversations, and show how these ‘say’-derived evidential markers contribute to the expression of different shades of speaker stance. Special attention is also given to their distinctive roles in modulating the strength — as well as pragmatic nuance — of an epistemic claim. This study also examines the role of main-clause ellipsis, in particular its contribution to the reanalysis of the (quoted) complement clause as a stand-alone ‘new main clause’, and the concomitant reinterpretation of the erstwhile ha ‘say’ complement-taking matrix clause as a sentence final particle that often retains an evidential reading but also captures the pragmatic nuance of its discourse context. The findings of this study contribute to a fuller understanding of how ‘say’-derived evidential constructions in Korean (and potentially also in other languages) extend their semantic scope to develop into markers of speakers’ subjective and intersubjective/interpersonal stance.
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