Evidentiality and Mirativity

Ferdinand de Haan

in The Oxford Handbook of Tense and Aspect

Published in print May 2012 | ISBN: 9780195381979
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks

Evidentiality and Mirativity

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  • Linguistics
  • Pragmatics
  • Grammar, Syntax and Morphology



The categories of evidentiality and tense/aspect overlap in various respects. On a formal level, it is frequently the case that evidentials are expressed with tense or aspect morphemes. They also share certain semantic features. Evidentiality and tense/aspect are much closer related than is sometimes assumed in the literature (which tends to focus on the relations between evidentiality and epistemic modality). This article is concerned with the nature of evidentiality, the marking of the source of information, or where the speaker got his or her evidence for making a statement from. It lays out the reasons for treating evidentiality and mirativity (the marking of unexpected information) as part of tense/aspect, and, after briefly outlining the various types of evidentiality that can be found in the world's languages, considers the semantics of evidentiality. The article then looks at two groups of evidentials—direct and indirec—and also discusses modal verbs, verbal affixes, clitic, mood, and particles. Finally, it describes three aspects of the interaction between visual evidentiality and tense and aspect.

Keywords: tense; aspect; evidentiality; mirativity; modal verbs; semantics; languages; direct evidentials; indirect evidentials; modality

Article.  11596 words. 

Subjects: Linguistics ; Pragmatics ; Grammar, Syntax and Morphology

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