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  • Author or Editor: Alexandra Y. Aikhenvald x
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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.
In: Copies versus Cognates in Bound Morphology
In: Copies versus Cognates in Bound Morphology

Abstract

Reference to information source may be accomplished with a variety of means, including verbs referring to reports, claims, or opinions, adverbs, parentheticals, prepositional phrases or 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 conditional in French. These ‘evidentiality strategies’ share the evidential meanings and often 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. Expressions related to information source are heterogeneous and versatile, and 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. The paper focuses on various aspects of expressing information source across the world’s languages.

In: Evidentials and Modals
In: Perception and Cognition in Language and Culture
In: Multi-verb Constructions
In: Linguistics and Archaeology in the Americas

Abstract

Noun categorization devices, or classifiers, of all types are a means of classifying referents in terms of basic cognitively salient parameters. These include humanness, animacy, sex, shape, direction and orientation, consistency, and function. In large systems of classifiers, one finds additional terms whose application is restricted to a limited set of referents, or even just to a single referent. For instance, numerous languages of Mainland Southeast Asia have elaborate sets of specific classifiers in the domain of social hierarchies and human interactions. Languages with multiple classifier systems spoken in riverine environment will be likely to have a special classifier for ‘canoe’. Rather than categorizing entities in terms of general features, such classifiers with specific meanings serve to highlight items important for the socio-cultural environment of the speakers and their means of subsistence. Specific classifiers are likely to be lost if a practice or a hierarchy they reflect undergoes attrition. They occupy a singular place in language acquisition and the history of development of classifier systems.

In: Cognitive Semantics
In: Language at Large
In: Language at Large