This paper reports on the first detailed experimental investigation of the perception of the felicity of evidential markers in context. We investigated the Japanese evidentials -rashii, -sooda, and -yooda in various discourse environments by manipulating two key variables: (a) whether there was any conjecture required, and (b) whether the information source was accessible firsthand to the speaker. This work provides a baseline against which future studies of other discourse variables can be measured, and our results present some challenges to established conceptions. For example, -rashii was found to be compatible with reportative utterances, building on its traditional categorization as a conjectural evidential. We situate our findings with respect to the typological literature and contemplate how the results may inform semantico-pragmatic theories of evidentiality. We further propose a slight modification to McCready and Ogata (2007) to account for the felicity of bare propositions with indirect information sources.
In addition Aikhenvald (2004) has identified indirect evidentials that encode (a) that p is assumed given the context and (b) that p is quoted and attributed to a particular source.
de Haan (2001) and Barnes (1984) actually use the labels flipped as ‘directness’ = whether the speaker had access to sensory information and ‘firsthandedness’ = whether the speaker had sensory information about the proposition itself. We believe these labels cause the parameter of directness to drastically diverge from the general consensus (Faller 2002; Murray 2010; inter alia) and have offered the simple solution of switching the labels.