2004
Volume 56, Issue 2
  • ISSN: 1876-9071
  • E-ISSN: 2214-5729

Abstract

Abstract

This paper characterizes the difference in evidentiality between two parenthetical constructions in Dutch, ‘I think’ and ‘I thought’. On the basis of a qualitative corpus study of spoken Dutch, in which we systematically compare utterances with evidential ‘I think’ to their counterparts with ‘I thought’ and vice versa, we argue that the difference between the two constructions can be analyzed as a difference between and evidentiality, respectively (Aikhenvald 2004). We argue that it is not a mere coincidence that the difference between inferential and assumed evidentiality is captured by the grammatical difference between two tenses. There is a straightforward relation between the two types of indirect evidentiality and the two tenses. The tenses reflect the times at which the evidence that the inference or assumption is based on has become available to the speaker. The present tense variant ‘I think’ is used when the speaker infers something on the basis of sensory evidence in the present, whereas the past tense variant ‘I thought’ is used when the speaker assumes something on the basis of reportative or sensory evidence obtained in the past.

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  • Article Type: Research Article
Keyword(s): assumed; Dutch; evidentiality; inferential; tense
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