This paper revisits the semantics of the marker ʃikil in Jordanian Arabic (henceforth, JA) which has been analyzed as indirect evidential in previous literature (Al-Malahmeh 2013; Jarrah & Alshamari 2017, and others). The paper argues that ʃikil is a propositional-level rather than an illocutionary-level operator and therefore ʃikil is amenable to a modal analysis. The paper also provides evidence that epistemic modality system in JA can be finer-grained in terms of the propositions construed in the modal base as either logical reasoning-based or observable evidence-based. Such intriguing feature has been overlooked in possible world semantics (Kratzer 1991, 2012) but slightly reformed in the modal analysis advocated for ʃikil in this paper where the modal base is argued to construe a presupposition restricting the propositions in the modal base to observable evidence only. Cross-linguistically, the findings of the current paper lend further support to the unfolding literature that asserts the affinity and the heterogeneity of evidentiality and epistemic modality. At the same time, it poses serious challenge to the seminal works in evidentiality such as those of Aikhenvald (2004) and De-Haan (1999, 2004) who claimed that evidentiality is a homogenous category.
Mohammed A. Al-Malahmeh and Hamed A. Aljeradaat
epistemic modality, indirect evidentiality, Jordanian Arabic, possible worlds semantics, truth-conditional semantics