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Auteur: Monica IRIMIA

Encoding Surprise: Mirativity Strategies

Abstract/Résumé: ENCODING SURPRISE: MIRATIVITY STRATEGIES Monica-Alexandrina Irimia DeLancey’s (1997) seminal article has emphasized the necessity of enriching the linguistic taxonomy by the introduction of the mirative – the grammatical category which marks speaker’s surprise in front of unexpected, new, or contradictory information. Morpho-syntactic reflexes of this class have since been isolated in a large number of languages, from various families (Friedman 1986b for the general picture of Balkans, Duchet and Përnaska 1996 for Albanian, DeLancey 1992 for various Tibetan dialects, etc.). However, although the mirative generally exhibits non-trivial interactions with the modal (or more generally TAM) systems of many languages, there are no comprehensive typological investigations, or attempts towards a unified formal analysis. This paper presents the results of a typological investigation of six genetically distinct languages (Korean, Romanian, Spanish, Turkish, Albanian, Tibeto-Burman dialects which encode mirativity at the sentential level. The results show that at the descriptive level the morpho-syntactic construction of this class is sensitive to three main interacting parameters: 1) whether mirativity is marked by dedicated lexicalized material or by reinterpretation of material used by other categories (the conditional, the future, etc.). 2) whether mirativity is bundled with direct evidentiality or not (i.e., languages in which mirativity is possible only of the sentence contains an evidential); 3) whether mirativity results from tense/aspect displacement or not.