Alexandra Y. Aikhenvald

in Linguistics

ISBN: 9780199772810
Published online October 2011 | | DOI:

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Evidentiality is a grammatical category with source of information as its primary meaning—whether the speaker saw the event happen, did not see it but heard it, made an inference based on general knowledge or visual traces, or was told about it. Languages may distinguish firsthand and nonfirsthand information or have a special marker just for reported evidentiality. In larger evidential systems, firsthand or visual evidential may contrast with nonvisual, inferred, assumed, and reported. Evidentiality is a verbal category in its own right. It does not bear any straightforward relationship to the expression of the speaker’s responsibility or attitude toward the statement. Neither is evidentiality a subcategory of modality or a tense. Nonevidential categories, including perfect aspect, past tense, conditional, and other modalities and complementation devices, can develop meanings related to information source. French linguists employ the term “mediative.” Scholars of Quechua use the term “validational” or “verificational.”

Article.  14964 words. 

Subjects: Linguistics ; Anthropological Linguistics ; Language Families ; Psycholinguistics ; Sociolinguistics

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