In all Discourse Modes and genres, one finds passages that suggest a particular voice. They convey a sense of subjectivity, a point of view toward propositional information. "Point of view" is familiar as a literary term referring to presentation of the mind of a fictional character in narrative. More generally, point of view is "the perceptual or conceptual position in terms of which narrated situations and events are presented" (G. Prince 1987:73). Linguists now use the term for expressions of speech and thought, evidentiality, perspective, and other indications of an authorial or participant voice. "Point of view" is used almost interchangeably with "perspective" and "subjectivity." I shall use the latter term as more general. Subjectivity is conveyed by grammatical forms and lexical choices.1
Three traditions come together in the area of subjectivity. One is deixis and its linguistic expression. Deixis is a general term for the centrality of the here and now in language. The study of deixis takes as basic the canonical speech situation with Speaker and Addressee, and explores its linguistic ramifications. The second tradition involves evidentiality, indications of the source and reliability of information. Evidentiality is a relatively new term for the semantic field of attitude toward knowledge, a kind of modality. Linguistic resources for this vary strikingly across languages. Finally, subjectivity conveys the contents of mind and personal perspective; here linguistic study is complemented by a strong literary tradition. The area is a vast one and I intend this chapter as an introduction, by no means a complete account. I will give the grammatical underpinnings of subjectivity, the bare bones.
Subjectivity arises primarily in discourse contexts. It is expressed by grammatical forms at the sentence level: verbs and their complements, adverbials, tense, modals, aspectual viewpoint, anaphors. Often a subjective form has scope
1. Some of the material in this chapter was presented at a symposium at the University of Oslo in
December 2000: "Information Structure in a Cross-linguistic Perspective." I would like to thank
the audience for their questions and the discussion; I also thank Cathrine Fabricius-Hansen for