The grammaticalization of evidentiality

Alexandra Y. Aikhenvald

in The Oxford Handbook of Grammaticalization

Published in print October 2011 | ISBN: 9780199586783
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Linguistics

 The grammaticalization of evidentiality

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  • Linguistics
  • Historical and Diachronic Linguistics
  • Grammar, Syntax and Morphology


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This article analyses the grammaticalisation of the grammatical category of evidentiality. It explains that evidentiality is a verbal category in its own right and it does not bear any straight-forward relationship to the expression of speaker's responsibility, or attitude to the statement. Grammaticalisation of evidentials follows two general paths. Markers of evidentiality may develop out of grammaticalising a lexical item and an evidential may also evolve out of an evidentiality strategy, acquiring the status of a grammatical system in its own right. Evidentials evolve from a variety of sources, including forms from open classes and from closed classes and reinterpretation and reanalysis of evidentiality strategies.

Keywords: evidentiality; grammaticalisation; verbal category; evidentials; lexical item; classes

Article.  3135 words. 

Subjects: Linguistics ; Historical and Diachronic Linguistics ; Grammar, Syntax and Morphology

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