University of Pennsylvania Working Papers in Linguistics


German attitude verbs usually embed that-clause complements. In addition, only certain verbs can also license clauses with matrix verb-second (V2) word order as their complements. These same verbs can also appear in slifting constructions. The main question addressed in this paper is why only some attitude verbs allow these additional constructions. I argue that in slifting, the attitude verb functions as an evidential parenthetical, elaborating on (Reis, 1997) and a suggestion in (Potts, 2007), but contra (Wagner, 2004). The lexical meaning of the slifting verb (e.g., the preference information for 'hope') is contributed as a conventional implicature. For V2-embedding, I show that the attitude verb syntactically and semantically embeds its complement. Still, the evidential semantics is the same as in slifting. What differs between the two cases is the distribution of the semantic pieces onto the semantic dimensions of assertion and conventional implicature. In both constructions, only verbs that contribute an upwards epistemic component without factivity are compatible with the evidential semantics.