Article published in:Meaning in the History of English: Words and texts in context
Edited by Andreas H. Jucker, Daniela Landert, Annina Seiler and Nicole Studer-Joho
[Studies in Language Companion Series 148] 2013
► pp. 319–342
“I saw ye Child burning in ye fire”
Evidentiality in Early Modern English witness depositions
This article explores the use of evidentials, or markers of source of information in witness depositions from England in the period 1680–1710. By comparing the results with those from a previous study on the Salem witch trials (Grund 2012), I point to significant similarities in the linguistic forms and deployment of markers signaling sensory evidence, inference, assumption, and quotatives (i.e. information based on what other people have said). I also demonstrate the importance of considering the socio-historical and situational context in the interpretation of the evidentials: the legal setting and concerns such as appearing reliable and credible or not providing potentially questionable evidence probably significantly influenced deponents’ choices of evidential strategies.
Published online: 18 December 2013
Cited by 1 other publications
Walker, Terry & Peter J. Grund
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