Epistemological positioning and evidentiality in English news discourse: a text-driven approach

De Gruyter
Publication Type:
Journal Article
Text & Talk (Print Edition): an interdisciplinary journal of language, discourse & communication studies, 2006, 26 (6), pp. 635 - 660
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This paper uses a text-driven approach to explore epistemological positioning (the expression of assessments concerning knowledge) in English newspapers. The notion of epistemological positioning (EP) often overlaps with evidentialitythe linguistic marking of the basis of speaker/writer knowledge. This is a relatively modern concept in linguistics and, compared to the amount of research it has attracted concerning other languages, it has been somewhat neglected in research focusing on English. Newspaper texts are a particularly good source for looking into EP and evidentiality, because the news story is a genre that is preoccupied with knowledge. The analysis shows that EP in English can be very complex, and that the distinction between attribution and averral (Sinclair 1988) needs to be taken into account when discussing it in naturally occurring texts (particularly in news texts). The resulting elements of EP that are identified for the English language offer a first glance at the possibilities to express EP in English, and open up future research on EP in different registers and text types.
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