Topic: HUMAN SEMANTICS
Evidentiality, Modality and Probability
By Eric McCready & Norry Ogata
We show in this paper that some expressions indicating source of evidence are part of propositional content and are best analyzed as a special kind of epistemic modal. Our evidence comes from the Japanese evidential system. We consider six evidentials in Japanese, showing that they can be embedded in conditionals and under modals and that their properties with respect to modal subordination are similar to those of ordinary modals. We show that these facts are difficult for existing theories of evidentials, which assign evidentials necessarily widest scope, to explain. We then provide an analysis using a logical system designed to account for evidential reasoning; this logic is the first developed system of probabilistic dynamic predicate logic. This analysis is shown to account for the data we provide that is problematic for other theories.
Keywords: evidentiality, modality, probability, Japanese, dynamic semantics
Source: Semantics Archive