Polyphony and verb forms
Keywords:polyphony, evidential use, hidden quotations, representation, metarepresentation
This paper examines some special uses of indicative and subjunctive verb forms in Spanish, which contemporary linguistics explains using the notions of polyphony, evidentials, echoic representation, quotatives, etc. These terms, even though they refer to different characteristics and belong to different theoretical frameworks, share one common feature: they all refer to diverse linguistic forms (discourse markers, linguistic negation, quotatives, echoic utterances, etc.) characterized by the presence and interaction of different voices or points of view in one discourse sequence. In this study we are interested in a description of quotative or polyphonic meanings expressed by specific verb forms and tenses, the imperfect and the conditional, and also by indicative forms in subordinate substantive clauses with a negative main verb and by subjunctive forms in subordinate concessive clauses. Our research focuses on the analysis of the linguistic conditions that make possible the evidential use of the conditional, the imperfect and the echoic (metarepresentative) interpretation of indicative and subjunctive forms in the above-mentioned contexts. The examples we discuss show that evidential and echoic interpretations are inferential meanings derived from the extralinguistic situation and the knowledge that speakers have of the world.
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