Information source and evidentiality: what can we conclude?

Aikhenvald, Alexandra (2008) Information source and evidentiality: what can we conclude? Italian Journal of Linguistics/Rivista di Linguistica, 19 (1). pp. 207-227.

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Abstract

Every language has an array of ways of referring to information source: this may be accomplished with verbs referring to reports, claims, or opinions,with adverbs, with parentheticals, prepositional phrases or with particles. In about one quarter of the world’s languages, marking information source is obligatory. These languages have a grammatical category of evidentiality. Other languages have evidential extensions of non-evidential categories – such as perfect in Georgian and participles in Lithuanian. Just like nongrammatical expressions of information source, evidential extensions of nonevidential categories (known as evidential strategies) share the evidential meanings and not infrequently give rise to grammatical evidentials. The term “evidential” primarily relates to information source as a closed grammatical system whose use is obligatory. The term “information source” relates to the corresponding conceptual category. This is akin to the distinction between the category of ‘tense’, as grammaticalized location in time, and the concept of ‘time’. Expressions related to information source are heterogeneous and versatile. They include closed classes of particles and modal verbs, and an open-ended array of verbs of opinion and belief. The term ‘lexical evidentiality’is misleading in that it obscures these vital differences. Extra-grammatical ways of marking information source may allow more detailed specification of various degrees of assumption, inference, opinion than do grammatical evidential systems, and often reliability, and speaker’s evaluation of information. Recurrent patterns of expressing information source demonstrate parallel development of European languages discussed in the volume.

Item ID: 8824
Item Type: Article (Refereed Research - C1)
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This issue of Italian Journal of Linguistics/Rivista di Linguistica was not printed until 2008.

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ISSN: 1120-2726
Date Deposited: 03 Mar 2010 23:27
FoR Codes: 20 LANGUAGE, COMMUNICATION AND CULTURE > 2004 Linguistics > 200407 Lexicography @ 100%
SEO Codes: 95 CULTURAL UNDERSTANDING > 9502 Communication > 950201 Communication Across Languages and Culture @ 100%
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