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In A Grammar of Murui (Bue), Katarzyna Wojtylak provides the first complete description of Murui, an endangered Witotoan language, spoken by the Murui-Muina (Witoto) people from Colombia and Peru. The grammar is written from a functional and typological perspective, using natural language data gathered during several fieldtrips to the Caquetá-Putumayo region between 2013 and 2017. The many remarkable characteristics of Murui include a complex system of classifiers, differential subject and object marking, person-marking verb morphology, evidential and epistemic marking, head-tail linkage, and a system of numerals, including the fraternal (brother-based) forms for ‘three’ and ‘four’. The grammar represents an important contribution to the study of Witotoan languages, linguistic typology of Northwest Amazonia, and language contact in the area.
Volume Editors: Chungmin Lee and Jinho Park
Evidentials and Modals offers an in-depth account of the meaning of grammatical elements representing evidentiality in connection to modality, focusing on theoretical/formal perspectives by eminent pioneers in the field and on recently discovered phenomena in Korean evidential markers by native scholars in particular. Evidentiality became a hot topic in semantics and pragmatics, trying to see what kind of evidential justification is provided by evidentials to support or be related to the ‘at-issue’ prejacent propositions. This book aims to provide a deeper understanding of such evidentiality in discourse contexts in a broad range of languages such as American Indian, Korean and Japanese, Turkish and African languages over the world. In addition, an introduction to the concept of evidentiality and theoretical perspectives and recent issues is also provided.
In: A Grammar of Murui (Bue)
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Abstract

This paper examines the Japanese word darou, which is often classified as a modal even though its quantificational force is difficult to determine (Johnson, 2003; Masuoka, 2007; Narrog, 2009). We argue that darou is best analyzed not as a modal, but as a manipulated form of an assertion marker (Fiengo, 2007) that operates on the pragmatic level in order to delay predication until the speaker receives feedback from the hearer. Since the speaker may have various reasons for delaying predication, which may or may not involve degree of certainty, darou eludes attempts to be assigned a quantificational force and eludes a modal analysis. Instead, darou creates a kind of speech act halfway between an assertion and a yes/no question.

In: Evidentials and Modals
Author: Thomas Willett

Abstract

Epistemic modality reflects the speaker’s degree of commitment to the truth of what he or she is saying. This involves both the reliability and the source of his or her knowledge about the situation described. Unlike many languages, all epistemic contrasts in Southeastern Tepehuan are encoded in the verbal particles.

Four types of reliability are distinguised in Southeastern Tepehuan: multiple degrees of emphasis as well as affirmation, disclaimer, and doubt. Three types of sources are distinguished: that which is perceived by the speaker; that which is reported to the speaker; and that which causes the speaker to infer the situation. Reported evidence is further distinguished by whether or not the speaker assumes the hearer already is aware of the situation.

In: Evidentials and Modals
Author: Lisa Matthewson

Abstract

This paper investigates the question of whether ‘direct’ evidentials are amenable to an analysis as epistemic modals. Much recent literature advances modal analyses of evidentials, but direct evidentials pose prima facie problems for a modal analysis. In particular, typical epistemic modals differ from direct evidentials in that the former disallow direct witness, and convey reduced speaker certainty. In this paper I examine evidential elements in St’át’imcets (a.k.a. Lillooet; Salish), Gitksan (Tsimshianic), Nuu-chah-nulth (Wakashan), Cuzco and Wanka Quechua, English, Nivacle (Matacoan-Mataguayan), Cheyenne (Algonquian), Korean, and Tibetan. Based on the data presented, I propose that evidential contributions are more complex than is often assumed. Specifically, there are three different dimensions of meaning which evidentials may encode: (1) Evidence type (whether the evidence is visual, sensory, reported, etc.), (2) Evidence location (whether the speaker witnessed the event itself or merely some of its results), and (3) Evidence strength (the trustworthiness/reliability of the evidence). Each of the three dimensions has direct and indirect values, and particular evidential morphemes may be semantically complex, encoding information about one, two or all three of the dimensions. I then argue that contrary to what we might expect, evidentials which encode direct values on any of the three dimensions are compatible with modal semantics.

In: Evidentials and Modals
Author: Jinho Park

Abstract

There are numerous verbal endings and periphrastic constructions in Korean which express modal meanings and contain evidential and/or mirative meaning components in addition. I present some representative cases of them, and discuss the status of these evidential and/or mirative meaning components in the semantic representation. In so doing, I want to show the usefulness of the concepts of evidentiality and mirativity in describing the differences among modal elements in Korean.

The first case to consider is the so-called exclamative endings -kwuna and -ney. These have mirativity as their core meaning components, but they differ in evidentiality. -kwuna does not constrain the source of information, whereas -ney cannot express information obtained through hearsay. Whether -ney can be used to express information obtained through inference is not so clear, as there is evidence for both positions. It is certain that ney- is more constrained than -kwuna in expressing inference. -kwuna brings the inferential process into relief, whereas -ney suggests an immediate response without so much thinking.

The second element to consider is the pre-final ending -te-. -te- expressed past imperfective in Middle Korean, but due to the emerging past element -ess-, -te- came to have more meaning components in addition to the tense meaning of past. -te- in the non-adnominal positions in Modern Korean expresses information obtained newly in the past. This meaning component can be described as mirativity in the past. In relation to evidentiality, -te- cannot express information obtained through hearsay, but can express information obtained through direct perceptual experience or speculation/introspection/reasoning.

The third case to consider is -keyss- and -ul kes-i-. Both of them can express future tense, intention or conjecture. Here I concentrate on the conjecture use. -keyss- expresses a conjecture from inference based on perceptual information, whereas -ul kes-i- expresses a conjecture from reasoning based on general knowledge/assumption. They differ in mirativity also. -keyss- tends to be used to express newly obtained information, whereas -ul kes-i- does not.

Various verbal endings and periphrastic constructions in addition to the above cases can be described using the concepts of evidentiality and mirativity.

In: Evidentials and Modals
Author: Mary Shin Kim

Abstract

Detailed examinations of moment-to-moment unfolding talk and actions in Korean conversations show that speakers shift and manipulate alternate evidential markers as interactional resources. Unlike languages with an obligatory evidentiality system, in Korean, speakers can choose to use an evidential marker to state their claims, and often shift their choice for the same proposition in the course of interaction. By shifting from zero evidential marking to overt evidential marking, Korean speakers objectify and distribute responsibility for their claims or negotiate their epistemic rights in reaction to the talk and actions of co-participants. The findings demonstrate that the ways speakers actually use evidential markers are not entirely determined by the source of information, but instead are shaped by the context and the actions of participants in moment-by-moment interaction.