Maria Estellés Arguedas, Marta Albelda Marco
February 10, 2014
This paper analyzes three Spanish particles, namely al parecer, por lo visto and según parece , whose status as pure evidentials (i.e., elements that only convey “source of information”) has been put into question. The aim of this study is twofold: firstly, to observe the incidence of prosody in triggering the contextual meanings usually expressed by evidentials, i.e., politeness, impoliteness and self-image activities; secondly, to find out whether their prosodic behaviour provides any hint of their core meaning being “source of information”. In order to carry out this analysis, a corpus of circa three million words of Peninsular Spanish has been compiled, which aims to reflect a variety of registers (formal and informal) and genres (both confrontational and non-confrontational). The study reveals different prosodic behaviours exhibited by pure evidentials on the one hand, and contextual meanings on the other. Theoretically speaking, the concept of “relational work” embraces all the contextual meanings, and therefore explains the prosodic difference more effectively than other concepts. On the other hand, data show a high number of cases in Spanish where evidentials are used with their pure meaning, thus supporting the existence of elements exclusively conveying “source of information”, without any further contextual nuance.