The annotation scheme

The marker

An epistemic marker is a unary linguistic predicate that takes an element of the context (the scope of the epistemic construction) as its argument and attributes a truth-value to this argument. The marker of an epistemic construction can either attribute a truth value directly, by specifying the degree of truth of the scope or indirectly, by citing a source of evidence for the truth of the scope. For each marker the following properties are annotated: 1. archi-unit, 2. lemma, 3. form 4. morphosyntax, 5. illocution.   

1. Archi-Unit
We inherited the notion of Archi-Unit from the EuroEvidMod project. The archi-unit indicates the conceptual domain to which a marker belongs. 

2. Lemma
The lemma indicates the dictionary entry under which the marker would appear.  

3. Form
The form indicates the concrete realization of the marker in the text.

4. Morphosyntax
Epistemic markers can be realized through the following elements: 
(i) morphemes, i.e., affixed element that attributes a truth value to the proposition encoded by the element to which it is affixed. 

(ii) modal verb constructions, i.e., constructions characterized by an inflectionally constrained verbal predicate that takes an aspectually incomplete infinitive as a complement and that attributes a truth value to it.  

(iii) complement-taking predicates, i.e., verbal predicates that take a sentential predicate as a complement and that attribute a truth value to it. 

(iv) adverbials, i.e., a syntactically non obligatory predicates that syntactically depend on another predicate (whether a verb, an adjective, an adverb or an entire clause) and that attribute a truth value to it. 

(v) discourse markers, i.e. predicates syntactically independent of the scope to which they attribute a truth value.  

(vi) utterances, i.e., syntactically and semantically complete utterances that attribute a truth value to a scope. The reference to the scope is made through a co-reference relation that links an element of the utterance and (an element of) the scope.

(vii) syntactic tag-questions, i.e, interrogative operator+subject pronoun constructions that attach to a main anchor clause to verify its truth value.

(viii) syntactic short answers, i.e., declarative subject pronoun+operator constructions that follow a questioning construction which functions as scope and to which they attribute a truth value. 

(vii) syntactic list constructions, i.e., constructions “characterized by the multiple realization of one and the same structural position in a dependency tree, in which the first element of the list represents a scope to which further elements of the list attribute a truth value. 

(viii) syntactic interrogative constructions, i.e., syntactically marked interrogative constructions used to check the truth-value of the scope;  

(ix) prosodic interrogative constructions; i.e., prosodic profiles added to a scope in order to mark it as an interrogative construction used to check its truth-value .  

(x) voice modifications; i.e., modification of the voice used in uttering a scope in order to mark it as a quotation. 

5. Illocution
The marker of an epistemic construction can be included in: 
(i) an assertive utterance, 
(ii) an interrogative utterance, 
(iii) an injunctive utterance, or 
(iv) an exclamative utterance.


The scope

The scope of an epistemic construction corresponds to the element of the context to which the marker attributes the truth value. As a truth value bearer, the scope of an epistemic construction expresses, by definition, a proposition, i.e., an abstract semantic object capable of being evaluated in terms of truth. From a formal standpoint, the proposition to which the truth value is attributed can be expressed by either a sentence or an utterance. 

1. Illocution
The scope of an epistemic construction can realize (or be included in): (i) an assertive utterance, (ii) an interrogative utterance, (iii) an injunctive utterance, or (iv) an exclamative utterance.
The relation

The relation between the marker and the scope serves the purpose of co-evaluating the truth value of a scope in order to ground (or not) the propositional content of the scope in the common ground.It can be characterized, formally, by : 1. the linear relation between the marker and the scope; 2. the relation between the source that utters the marker and the source that utters the scope; and functionally, by 3. the polarity that it attributes to the scope; 4. the dialogic functions it fulfills; 5. the type of evidential justification (if any) on which the truth evaluation of the scope is based on. 
  
1. Direction
(i)   marker>scope - the marker precedes the scope
(ii)  scope>marker - the scope precedes the marker
(iii) inside - the marker interrupts the scope
(iv)  co-extensive - the marker and the scope are co-extensive

2. Source
(i)  SS -   the marker and the scope are uttered by the same speaker
(ii) OS -   the marker and the scope are uttered by two different   speakers
(iii) SS_OT - the marker and the scope are uttered by the same speaker but in two different speech turns

3. Polarity
(i) positive - the modal construction puts forward the propositional content of the scope as (mostly) true
(ii) negative - the modal construction puts forward the propositional content of the scope as (mostly) false
(iii) neutral - the modal construction puts forward the truth-value of the propositional content of the scope as not decidable.

4. Dialogic Function
(i)   qualification - the epistemic marker is merely used to indicate the knowledge or evidence the speaker has to evaluate the truth of the scope. The scope is added to the common ground within the limits of the validity of the knowledge or evidence provided.
(ii) acceptation - the epistemic marker is used to assent to the scope. The scope is added to the common ground
(iii) non acceptation - the epistemic marker is used to reject the scope. The scope is added to the common ground
(iv) check - the epistemic marker is used to request a confirmation for the validation of the scope.The speaker proposes to add the scope to the common ground.
(v)   confirmation - the epistemic marker is used to confirm the scope whose validity was checked by another speaker. the scope is added to the common ground.
(vi) non confirmation - the epistemic marker is used to reject the scope whose validity was checked by another speaker. the scope is not added to the common ground.
(vii) concession - the epistemic marker is used to either accept or confirm the scope without accepting or confirming the expected argumentative entailments of it. The scope is added to the common ground, its expected argumentative entailments are not. 
(viii) information - the epistemic marker is used by the speaker to inform her interlocutor of the validity of the scope. the scope is added to the common ground, the interlocutor must accept. 

4. Epistemic type
(i)   No evidential justification - The truth evaluation of the scope is not justified on an evidential basis.
(ii) Direct evidential auditory - The truth evaluation of the scope is based on auditory evidence.
(iii) Direct evidential visual - The truth evaluation of the scope is based on visual evidence.
(iv)   Indirect evidential inference - The truth evaluation of the scope is based on an inferential reasoning.
(v) Indirect evidential feeling - The truth evaluation of the scope is based on a non sensory feeling.
(vi) Indirect evidential memory - The truth evaluation of the scope is based on speaker's memory.
(vii) Indirect evidential reportive - The truth evaluation of the scope is based on what was reported to the speaker by other sources.
(viii) Indirect evidential quotative - The scope corresponds to a textual quotation of other sources .

Paola Pietrandrea & Elisa Ghia
(see also Pietrandrea, P. (submitted), Epistemic constructions at work. A corpus study on spoken Italian dialogues.)

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