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Power dynamics and pragma-cultural sources of unsourced evidentiality in Persian
journal contributionposted on 2023-03-01, 03:14 authored by Amin ZainiAmin Zaini, Hossein Shokouhi
Abstract This paper investigates participants’ reflections on power relations embedded in the cultural-pragmatics of unsourced evidentials in Persian texts. Using Fairclough’s (2013) critical discourse analysis, we adopted Hanks’ (2018) ethnography of referential practices and Foucault’s (1980) power dynamics to analyse 16 Persian texts through follow up interviews and focus group discussions on two opposing pairs of texts – one pair on Iranian national identity versus Persian literature, and another on Iranian politics versus religion. Our analysis revealed that unsourced evidentials appear in Persian predominantly due to censorship and sometimes due to deliberate use by authors (e.g., for winning an argument). Text consumers often overlook unsourced evidentials while reflecting on politico-religious referents, such as inequalities and bigotry. This has roots in Persian literature, religion, and politics of power embedded in the culture, and the participants’ attention to inequalities and discriminations has roots in referential practices in current Iranian discourse.