Evidentials and their pivot in Tibetic and neighboring Himalayan languages

Zemp, Marius (2020). Evidentials and their pivot in Tibetic and neighboring Himalayan languages. Functions of language, 27(1), pp. 29-54. John Benjamins 10.1075/fol.20003.zem

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This paper focuses on a specific type of perspective-indexing constructions in Tibetic and neighboring languages, namely a type of verbal marker that is consistently construed from the perspective of the speaker in statements, the addressee in questions, and the source (= the original/reported speaker) in reported speech clauses. As these markers indicate how one obtained the information profiled in a sentence and may thus be viewed as a type of evidential, they cannot at the same time establish reference to any participant of the current speech act and thus by default reflect the perspective of the ‘informant’ of the respective sentence type. If we define the encountered distinctions in relation to a cause-effect vector in the sense of DeLancey (1986), these languages all contain what we may call an ‘insider’ marker indicating access to the entire vector including its causal origin and an ‘outsider’ marker indicating access only to its effect end. Whereas the insider markers typically occur when the informant is the subject and the outsider markers when s/he is not, the present paper discusses the different ways in which Tibetic and neighboring languages deviate from this basic pattern, and argues that these differences reflect the fact that the markers in the latter languages were only secondarily evidentialized in reported speech clauses, likely due to contact with Tibetic.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


06 Faculty of Humanities > Department of Linguistics and Literary Studies > Institute of Linguistics

UniBE Contributor:

Zemp, Marius Peter


400 Language > 410 Linguistics
400 Language > 490 Other languages




John Benjamins




Marius Peter Zemp

Date Deposited:

04 May 2021 17:05

Last Modified:

04 May 2021 17:05

Publisher DOI:






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