Co-occurrence of Epistemic Modality in Chinese
In Chinese, epistemic modality expressions include adverbs, auxiliary verbs, and sentence-final particles. This study focuses on the co-occurrence of various degrees of epistemic modality expressions and discusses the effect of their co-occurrence on the likelihood of sentences. First, we collected data on co-occurrence cases of various expressions from a large-scale corpus and analyzed the characteristics of the distribution of these co-occurrence patterns. Second, we examined how modal adverbs and sentence-final particles of different scales of modality affect the likelihood of sentences when they co-occur. We observed that lower certainty expressions precede higher ones, following a hierarchy of Modpossibility > Modprobability > Modcertainty, regardless of their categories. Moreover, the sentence-final particle 吧ba diminishes the likelihood of a proposition, while the sentence-final particle （是）…的 (shi)…de strengthens it. The findings in this study contribute to a deeper understanding of epistemic modality in Chinese and offer novel resources for the acquisition of the language.