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Ignorance and Indifference: Epistemic Indefinites in Slovak
Richtarcikova, Veronika
This thesis investigates epistemic indefinites (EIs), elements noteworthy for their grammaticalized ignorance implicature, i.e. inability to provide further information about the identity of the expression's referent. This work contributes to the effort of finding a unified account of the cross-linguistic repertoire of EIs. It comprises a corpus survey and a semantic analysis of Slovak voľa- and -si, EI items not studied until now. First, the following hypothesis was tested: the semantic/syntactic functions expressed by an indefinite will fall into contiguous areas on an implicational map (Haspelmath 1997). The results of the corpus analysis revealed that the map does not entirely capture the Slovak EIs' functional distribution and interpretations. Secondly, the semantic analysis was developed within the alternatives-and-exhaustification framework (Chierchia 2013). I show that some of the EIs' behavior can be explained as a consequence of an assumed sensitivity to parameters proposed by Chierchia. I situate voľa- and -si with respect to the framework’s typology and offer a critical assessment of this theoretical perspective.
Corpus (Lingüística)
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