, Volume 21, Issue 1, pp 1-41
Date: 10 Oct 2012

Temporal constraints on the meaning of evidentiality

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This paper explores how the meaning of evidentiality is temporally constrained, by investigating the meaning of Korean evidential sentences with –te. Unlike evidential sentences in languages that have previously been formally analyzed , e.g. Cuzco Quechua and Cheyenne, Korean evidential sentences with –te are compatible with both direct and indirect evidence types. In this paper, I analyze –te as an evidential that lexically encodes the meaning of a ‘sensory observation’. I account for the availability of both direct and indirect evidential readings in terms of the variable temporal relation between relevant eventualities. I show that this temporal relation is compositionally determined by the interaction between –te and tense, and that it in turn constrains possible (direct vs. indirect) evidence types. I also provide empirical evidence for the modal meaning contributions of –te sentences, and develop a formal analysis in terms of Kratzer’s modal theory. The paper concludes by discussing the empirical and theoretical improvements of the proposed analysis over earlier analyses by Chung, and the implications for crosslinguistic studies of evidentials.