The meeting takes an "interactional approach to evidentiality" (Hanks 2012:171), focusing on evidential strategies in spoken language beyond grammatical and lexical markers.

In discourse, the orientation to sources of knowledge is part of epistemic stance taking. Sources may become relevant in actions that frame the uttered content as a proposition (Pietrandrea 2005, Boye 2012:194-195), i.e. as a piece of (potential) knowledge, and imply claims and attributions of knowledgeability (+/- K, Heritage & Raymond 2005, Sidnell 2012). At a quite abstract level, such actions can be described as being situated in a question-assertion function space (Levinson 2012:25) or, in a speech act perspective, as a set that prominently includes "illocutionary acts of the assertive family" (Sbisà 2014). In conversation, they correspond to information requests, confirmation requests, candidate understandings, hypotheses, good gues­ses, predictions, informings, tellings, reports, assessments, claims, justifications, concessions, challenges, (dis)confirmations, change-of-state tokens, etc. etc. and participate in a great variety of sequentially organized action trajectories.

The turn design and sequential implications of such actions are not only sensitive to the quan­titative distribution of knowledge among participants (Who knows how much?), but also, in some cases, to the sources of knowledge, i.e. the way participants access (acquire) knowledge.

For example, a participant's direct access to an event (the fact the he/she has, or is supposed to have, experienced an event on his/her own) is regularly treated as conferring him/her a particularly knowledgeable status when it comes to talking about that event. The opposition between direct and indirect access to knowledge therefore influences the formation, ascription, design and sequential organization of questions and informings (Pomerantz 1980, 1984, Heritage & Raymond 2005, Sidnell 2012). Direct access is also constitutive of actions in institutional settings such as eyewitness testimonies in court (Grund 2016) or problem presentations by patients in medical interviews (Heritage & Robinson 2006, Halkowski 2006, Spranz-Fogasy 2010:84-90). In other cases, it is the participants' perceptual access to the immediate surrounding in the moment of speaking – including the discourse of others – that becomes a source for the uttered content and contributes to define the action itself. This occurs e.g. when initiating a retro-sequence by a "noticing" (Schegloff, 2007:219), or by an "evidential vindication" in next turn (Kendrick 2019), or when a speaker assesses food after having publicly accomplished an action, and experience, of tasting (Mondada 2018:747-748).

Another type of source that is specifically linked to subsets of actions in the question-assertion space is inference. Inference is publicly displayed in turns and sequences that establish argumentative links between propositions (such as backing up a claim by an argument, presenting counter-arguments to attack a preceding claim etc.). Linguistically informed research about argumentation based on written corpora not only has shown that arguers frequently recur to inferential evidential markers to categorize and underline links between textually spelled out propositions (Rocci 2017); it has also been argued that argumentation may be viewed as an evidential strategy in its own right (Miecznikowski 2016, 2020).

As suggested by the above examples, links between propositions and their sources become recognizable thanks to a variety of practices. These are based on the simultaneousness and adjacency of perceptual experience and talk, on the sequential concatenation of actions, and/or on verbal reference to sources, i.e. on evidentiality as "a way of making the status of one’s knowledge ‘visible’ in discourse" (Mushin 2013:628). Reference to sources may be more or less specific: participants can refer to specific events of knowledge acquisition or categorize sources more generically, e.g. as direct, hearsay or inferential (Willett 1988). Reference to sources can take the form of autonomous utterances (e.g. in pre-, post- or retrosequences) or – what has been studied mainly in linguistic approaches to information source – can be made by means of utterance internal/peripherical grammatical markers (e.g. Aikhenvald 2004) and lexical constructions (e.g. Squartini 2007, Dendale & Izquierdo 2014, Jacquin 2017, Pietrandrea 2018, Cornillie & Gras 2020). The entire range of these practices is what is understood here as evidential strategies.

The investigation of evidential strategies in the broadest sense is not only useful to better understand knowledge-related social action. It is also crucial, in a linguistic perspective, to develop hypotheses about the way specialized lexical and grammatical evidential markers emerge in interaction. The meeting intends to bring together linguists and analysts of talk-in-interaction to reflect on such strategies in spoken language.

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  • References

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