Wednesday, August 12, 2020

Detail #398: Evidentials in Reasonable, but Unusual Places

Evidentials appear in many languages of the world. Many languages have them as an integral part of the verb morphology, but a slightly more limited distribution is not entirely inconceivable. I have been thinking a bit about what particular types of words and constructions may be likely to attract evidential marking. I make no claim as to completeness.

 Such, thus.

Such and thus are interesting - they're partially adjectives/adverbs, partially demonstratives. Basically shorthand for "like that" or "like this". Some languages have the same levels of deixis for their correlate, such as Swedish "så(da)n där/så(da)n här" which perfectly maps onto den här/den här. "Så här", "så där" basically provides two forms of 'thus' with a deictic distinction.
So, with these, some types of statements may actually invite evidentiality.


Particularly conjunctions that introduce subclauses.

The copula.

Certain adjectives and nouns relating to status in the eye of the law

criminal, murderer, etc, but also possibly statuses that aren't directly connected to culpability: heir-to-be, engaged, bastard


1 comment:

  1. > conjunctions that introduce subclauses

    This is how my conlang Ronc Tyu expresses evidentiality. See

    Diachronically, these conjunctions are derived from the construct state of abstract nouns:
    nrù 'SENSORY EVIDENCE' < *rəŋil 'the sight of...'
    rei 'HEARSAY' < *raj 'the story of'
    nèi 'INFERENTIAL' < *ndæj 'a reason for...'