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Conditionals and the Epistemic Scale

Noriko Akatsuka
Language
Vol. 61, No. 3 (Sep., 1985), pp. 625-639
DOI: 10.2307/414388
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/414388
Page Count: 15
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Conditionals and the Epistemic Scale
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Abstract

The conceptual domains REALIS and IRREALIS form an epistemic scale representing a speaker's subjective evaluation of the reality of a given situation. This scale accounts for grammatical phenomena such as conditionals, Japanese complementizer choice, and 'evidentials' in Turkish, Bulgarian, and Macedonian. Conditionals are identifiable not by their syntactic forms, but by speaker attitudes within the IRREALIS division of the scale. Surprise is also an IRREALIS phenomenon, since it takes time for newly-learned information to be assimilated into one's established body of knowledge.

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