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Knowledge can be expressed in language using a plethora of grammatical means. Four major groups of meanings related to knowledge are Evidentiality: grammatical expression of information source; Egophoricity: grammatical expression of access to knowledge; Mirativity: grammatical expression of expectation of knowledge; and Epistemic modality: grammatical expression of attitude to knowledge. The four groups of categories interact. Some develop overtones of the others. Evidentials stand apart from other means in many ways, including their correlations with speech genres and social environment. This essay presents a framework which connects the expression of knowledge across the world's languages in a coherent way, showing their dependencies and complexities, and pathways of historical development in various scenarios, including language obsolescence.

Abstract

Within the grammar of the world’s languages, knowledge can be expressed in various ways. We focus on the grammatical expression of four major groups of meanings related to knowledge: I. Evidentiality: grammatical expression of information source; II. Egophoricity: grammatical expression of access to knowledge; III. Mirativity: grammatical expression of expectation of knowledge; and IV. Epistemic modality: grammatical expression of attitude to knowledge. The four groups of categories interact. Some develop overtones of the others. For instance, some evidential terms may take on egophoric, mirative, or epistemic meanings. Evidentials stand apart from other means of expressing knowledge in their scope, possibility of double marking, time reference different from that of the predicate, the option of being negated or questioned separately from the predicate of the clause, and specific correlations with speech genres and social environment. Evidentials can be semantically complex. They may combine reference to the information sources of the speaker and of the addressee, and access to information source. Evidentials and epistemic modalities display an unequal relationship. Evidentials often arise form reinterpretation of epistemic markers; developments in the opposite direction are restricted. In a situation of language obsolescence, the erstwhile evidentials may undergo reinterpretation as modals, as the obsolescent language succumbs to a dominant one with no evidentials. Evidentials show a number of dependencies with other grammatical categories, including polarity, tense, aspect, person, and number. A few of these dependencies can be explained by the history of the development of evidential distinctions in the language.

In: The Web of Knowledge
Author: Arie Verhagen
In these lectures, Arie Verhagen presents a version of cognitive linguistics that adheres to both the generalization and cognitive commitments that characterized the field from the start, and a biological commitment: understanding language as adaptive behavior of (human) organisms in the niche(s) that they inhabit. Drawing on the model of biological explanation (“Tinbergen’s four why’s”), Verhagen shows how proximate (individual level) and ultimate (population level) explanations apply to several features of language, shedding new light on basic notions like conventionality and entrenchment, norms/rules and habits, etc., and their causal connections. Topics include the relation between language, culture, and thinking, the role of language in social cognition and narrative, the evolution of sound structure and grammar, semantic change, and more.
The Peopling of the World from the Perspective of Language, Genes and Material Culture
This volume provides the most up-to-date and holistic but compact account of the peopling of the world from the perspective of language, genes and material culture, presenting a view from the Himalayas. The phylogeny of language families, the chronology of branching of linguistic family trees and the historical and modern geographical distribution of language communities inform us about the spread of languages and linguistic phyla. The global distribution and the chronology of spread of Y chromosomal haplogroups appears closely correlated with the spread of language families. New findings on ancient DNA have greatly enhanced our understanding of the prehistory and provenance of our biological ancestors. The archaeological study of past material cultures provides yet a third independent window onto the complex prehistory of our species.
In: Ten Lectures on Cognitive Evolutionary Linguistics
In: Ten Lectures on Cognitive Evolutionary Linguistics
In: Ten Lectures on Cognitive Evolutionary Linguistics
In: Ten Lectures on Cognitive Evolutionary Linguistics