Pragmatics, cognition and asymmetrically acquired evidentials

Elly Ifantidou


This paper examines the development of a variety of evidential lexical items in Modern Greek from a longitudinal perspective involving 4;6 – 11;7 year olds. The main question to be addressed concerns parallel or asynchronous order of acquisition: Does the ability to use evidentials emerge for all items under investigation synchronically or does such an ability emerge earlier on for certain items while later for others? If the latter holds, how can this developmental lag be explained? An answer to these questions will draw on the pragmatic-cognitive abilities engaged by different types of evidential markers, and in particular, on the complexity of metarepresentations (Sperber 1994; Wilson 2000, 2005) different evidential markers rely on in order to be used by young children.

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