The Expression of Knowledge: Epistemicity and Beyond

Call for papers

The Expression of Knowledge: Epistemicity and Beyond

Organized by The Linguistic Association of Finland, Research project Evidego and the University of Helsinki.
The University of Helsinki, August 23–25, 2017

In recent years, the study of evidentiality and epistemicity has expanded from typologies of information source to a more comprehensive view on the expression of knowledge. Also languages without grammatical evidentials (including thus also many European languages) have gained foothold in studies of evidentiality (see, e.g., Diewald & Smirnova 2010). In other words, the focus of study has shifted from pure grammaticalized systems towards the semantic notion of source of information. Evidentiality has increasingly been investigated in relation to neighboring functional categories such as epistemic stance (cf. Englebretson 2007; Heritage 2012), and it has also been studied from an interactional and socio-cultural perspective (Mushin 2001; Gipper 2011; Nuckolls & Michael 2014; Fried in press).

The goal of this symposium is to extend the notion of expression of knowledge even further to include any possible way of referring to how and why we know what we know. This is not to diminish the relevance of epistemicity, but rather to broaden the perspective, and in so doing also to examine the interplay of these categories with other ways of referring to how we manage knowledge linguistically. In other words, our goal is to arrive at a holistic view of knowledge expression. The expression of knowledge to be broached is thus not confined to grammaticalized evidentials or epistemic markers, but also other possible ways of referring to knowledge will be of interest. Consequently, both contributions that discuss the interplay of different ways of knowledge expression and more traditional, narrower approaches are equally welcome. Furthermore, we are interested in how language ecology shapes the linguistic coding of knowledge. For example, ways of referring to knowledge vary according to genre and speech situation (Aikhenvald 2004: 310). Moreover, the information acquired through mediated forms of discourse such as new media may be encoded differently from more traditionally understood types of information source such as hearsay (Aikhenvald 2014: 34).

Due to the broadness of the topic, any presentation dealing with the expression of knowledge is welcome regardless of whether it deals with the topic in an individual language, across languages, or from a more theoretical perspective. Any theoretical framework is welcome, but the authors need to bear in mind that the papers should be accessible to anyone regardless of their theoretical background. Potential topics for talks include, but are in no way restricted to:

The following plenary speakers have confirmed their participation:

Abstract submission

Anonymous abstracts of no more than 500 words, excluding data and references, should be submitted by March 31, 2017. Each abstract will be reviewed by (at least) two members of the scientific committee. Notifications of acceptance will be announced by April 30, 2017. The talks will be 30 minutes long: 20 min for presentation and 10 min for discussion (including the 2-3 minutes needed for changing rooms between talks).

The first day of the conference is reserved primarily for workshops. Workshop convenors should submit a general description of the workshop (up to 1000 words) along with a list of speakers by March 31. The proposal should be sent to the organizers at The participants of the workshops are requested to submit their abstracts via Easychair as they will go through the same evaluation process as the abstracts submitted to the general session.

Please submit your abstract at:

For all correspondence concerning the symposium, please contact:

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Aikhenvald, Alexandra. Y. 2004. Evidentiality. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Aikhenvald, Alexandra Y. 2014. The grammar of knowledge: a cross-linguistic view of evidentials and the expression of information source. In Alexandra Y. Aikhenvald & R.M.W. Dixon (eds.) The Grammar of Knowledge. A Cross-Linguistic Typology. Explorations in Linguistic Typology 7. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1–51.

Bergqvist, Henrik. In press. The role of 'perspective' in epistemic marking. Lingua.

Cornillie, Bert. 2009. Evidentiality and epistemic modality: On the close relationship between two different categories. Functions of language 16 (1): 44–62.

Diewald, Gabriele & Smirnova, Elena (eds.) 2010. Linguistic realization of evidentiality in European languages. Empirical Approaches to Language Typology [EALT] 49. Berlin: Walter de Gruyter.

Englebretson, Robert. 2007. Stancetaking in discourse: An introduction. In Robert Englebretson (ed.) Stancetaking in discourse. Subjectivity, evaluation, interaction. Pragmatics & Beyond New Series 164. Amsterdam /Philadelphia: John Benjamin's, 1–25.

Floyd, Simeon 2005. The poetics of evidentiality in South American storytelling. Santa Barbara papers in linguistics 16, 28–41.

Fried, Robert W. In press. Egophoricity in Mangghuer: Insights from pragmatic uses of subjective/objective distinction. In Floyd, Simeon, Elisabeth Norcliffe and Lila San Roque (eds.) Egophoricity. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

Gipper, Sonja 2011. Evidentiality and intersubjectivity in Yurakaré: an interactional account. PhD Dissertation, Radboud Universiteit Nijmegen.

Haspelmath, Martin. 2010. Comparative concepts and descriptive categories in cross-linguistic studies. Language 86 (3): 663–687.

Heritage, John. 2012. Epistemics in action: Action formation and territories of knowledge. Research on language & social interaction 45 (1), 1–29.

Mushin, Ilana. 2001. Evidentiality and epistemological stance: narrative retelling. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

Nuckolls, Janis and Lev Michael (eds.) 2014. Evidentiality in interaction. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

San Roque, Lila. 2015. Using you to get to me: Addressee perspective and speaker stance in Duna evidential marking. In Epistemic marking in typological perspective [Special Issue], Lila San Roque & Henrik Bergqvist (eds.) 2015. STUF: Language typology and universals, 68 (2), 187–210.

Last modified: Tuesday, 14-Mar-2017 20:04:31 EET