Hearsay and (non-)commitment
Recent research in semantics and pragmatics has seen substantial interest in evidentiality, the linguistic marking of information source. This talk focuses on the presence/absence of commitment associated with evidential statements. Cross-linguistically, non-hearsay evidentials always require that the speaker endorses at least the possibility that the scope proposition is true. Hearsay evidentials, on the other hand, do not necessarily require such endorsement and the speaker can follow-up a hearsay claim with an overt disavowal. The talk is devoted to the space of analytical options proposed for the pattern (informational modality, pragmatic shift, non-assertive speech acts) and to the empirical motivation for those options. My goals are threefold: to elucidate conceptual issues surrounding the debate, to propose a new analysis of the pattern rooted in the variable discourse status of evidential statements, and to put hearsay evidentials in a larger context of speech reports.