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La construction à datif épistémique: une structure modale ou évidentielle

  • Van Peteghem, Marleen
Publication Date
Jan 01, 2014
Ghent University Institutional Archive
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The epistemic dative construction (cf. Je lui trouve du charme ‘I find him charming’) is generally described as a structure of secondary predication. This paper examines whether the verbs used in this structure function as epistemic modalizers, as the term proposed by Ruwet (1982) suggests, or rather as evidential markers of the secondary predication. A corpus study of six representative verbs, four cognition verbs and two perception verbs, shows that the primary predication is often not the main predication of the clause. In these cases it functions as an evidential rather than a modal marker in that it expresses the source of a subjective judgment or a personal perception, mostly on the part of the speaker, but not necessarily. However, in many other cases, the primary predication is also the main predicate of the clause from a discourse point of view and does not function as a modal or evidential marker.

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