Paola Pietrandrea

L'articolazione semantica del dominio epistemico dell'italiano

  • Abstract

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Italian has five epistemic forms that can be considered as grammaticalized, at least to an extent: the epistemic future, the indicative and the conditional forms of "dovere" (MUST); the indicative and the conditional forms of "potere" (CAN). This article studies the semantic oppositions between such forms, with a twofold objective: to describe the internal structure of the epistemic domain in Italian and to characterize it typologically. The Italian epistemic domain appears to be structured around three axes: the gradation of certainty, the opposition between preminently deontic and preminently epistemic meanings, the opposition between epistemic/evidential and genuinely epistemic meanings. The structure of Italian epistemic domain is characterized according to four typological parameters relevant for the semantic classification of epistemic systems. This typological characterization highlights the peculiar complexity of the relationship between epistemicity and evidentiality in Italian, and suggests interesting differences between Italian and other European languages.

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