Linguistics and Philosophy 32 (2):143-184 (2009)

Of late, evidentiality has received great attention in formal semantics. In this paper I develop ‘evidentiality-informed’ truth conditions for modal operators such as must and may . With language data drawn from Luoping Nase (a Tibeto-Burman language spoken in the P.R. of China and belonging to the Yi Nationality), I illustrate that epistemic modals clash with clauses articulating first-hand information. I then demonstrate that existing models such as Kratzer’s graded possible-worlds semantics fail to provide accurate truth conditions for modals tagging clauses with first-hand information. As a remedy I propose a fuzzy version of possible-worlds semantics with various grades of belief and knowledge. In addition to preserving the expressive power of graded possible-worlds semantics, the fuzzy model will be shown to supply appropriate truth conditions for epistemic modals appended to evidential clauses (i.e. clauses expressing first-hand information).
Keywords Fuzzy possible-worlds semantics  Conversational background  Epistemic modality  Evidentiality  Yi language  Luoping Nase
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DOI 10.1007/s10988-009-9057-2
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Logic and Conversation.H. P. Grice - 1975 - In Donald Davidson & Gilbert Harman (eds.), The Logic of Grammar. Encino, CA: pp. 64-75.
Semantical Considerations on Modal Logic.Saul A. Kripke - 1963 - Acta Philosophica Fennica 16:83-94.

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