A cross-linguistic perspective on grammar and negative epistemics in talk-in-interaction

Jan Lindström, Yael Maschler & Simona Pekarek Doehler

Abstract In this introduction to the special issue on ‘Grammar and negative epistemics in talk-in-interaction’ we discuss the current state of research on the use of negative mental verb constructions such as I don’t know, I don’t understand, I don’t remember in social interaction. We scrutinize, in a cross-linguistic perspective, the grammatical and interactional features that emerge from existing research in the field, and spell out the specific contribution of the studies collected in this issue. We discuss how the cumulative evidence provided by these studies across a set of different languages, several of which are typologically unrelated, contributes to studies of talk-in-interaction and to the newly emerging field of Pragmatic Typology. We argue that the findings point to universal interactional motivations for the grammatical properties and the grammaticization of the constructions studied, and suggest that these motivations arise out of the basic requirements for intersubjectivity in social interaction.
Keywords Grammar-in-interaction, Talk-in-interaction, Epistemics, Negative mental verb constructions, Grammaticization, Pragmatic typology
Citation Lindström, J., Maschler, Y., & Pekarek Doehler, S. (2016). A cross-linguistic perspective on grammar and negative epistemics in talk-in-interaction. Journal of Pragmatics, 106, 72-79.
Type Journal article (English)
Date of appearance 1-12-2016
Journal Journal of Pragmatics
Volume 106
Pages 72-79
URL https://doi.org/10.1016/j.pragma.2016.09.003