Evidential Markers

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  • Every language has lexical means to indicate the source of information being communicated (e.g., I saw, reportedly, or the teacher said). In addition, about one-quarter of the languages of the world (e.g., Bulgarian, Korean, Quechua, Tibetan, and Turkish) also have grammatical means to do so. The only difference between the following two Turkish sentences is in the evidential marker used: -DI in (1) indicates that the reported information is directly acquired by the speaker, for example, through witnessing the event, and -MIş in (2) indicates that the reported information is indirectly acquired, for example, through hearsay or inference.

    • John mektup yaz-DL (John wrote a letter; I have direct evidence.)
    • John mektup yaz-MIş. (John wrote a letter; I have indirect evidence.)

    Evidentials are grammatical markers that identify ...

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