Evidentiality in Deedmongol

Brosig, Benjamin (July 2021). Evidentiality in Deedmongol (Unpublished). In: 15th Seoul International Altaistic Conference. online. 16-17 July 2021.

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Evidentiality in Deedmongol is spoken in different parts of Qinghai (Haixi, Henan) and Gansu (Subei). In the moribund dialect of Henan as described by Balogh (2017a: 52), an Amdo-Tibetan-style evidentiality system (cf. Sun 1993) has arisen that distinguishes between the speaker’s own actions and events committed by somebody else, which in the past are further divided into those that the speaker witnessed and those that she inferred (cf. (1)-(5)).

For Haixi as described by Oyunceceg (2009: 155-160, 163-164), there are the past tense forms -w & -ɑːdw (< -ɢad oduba) [“speaker satisfied”], -lɑː & -ɑːdlɑː [with witnessed or participatory examples] and -dtʃɑː (no simple -dʒɑː) [“sudden realization of recent events”] which resemble the basic tripartite factual-direct-indirect opposition of other Oirat varieties (Goto 2009, Skribnik & Seesing 2014) and Middle Mongol (Brosig 2014) with the interference of the auxiliary od- ‘go there’ resembling Amdo Tibetan -tʰæ (cf. Zemp 2017: 622). The present progressive has -dʒiː (< -ju bu-i) [including non-participatory examples, cf. (6)] and -dʒæːn (< -ju bayi-na).

The role of factors like speaker control/certainty in Henan Oirat remains unclear, but due to its rapid decline (Balogh 2017b), a thorough investigation is no longer feasible. For Haixi Oirat, it’s unclear whether it features a bipartite past-tense evidentiality system (direct-indirect regardless of participation) with an evidentially neutral -w or a tripartite evidentiality system (participatory-direct-indirect). This presentation investigates this question using published materials (Oyunnasun n.d., Baɢatur 2016: 1242-1341) and own data (all of which are closer to Southern Standard Mongolian than Oyunceceg’s examples).


(1) Kiilik-εεn ʊγaa-jiγlaa. ‘I washed my shirt’ (speaker’s own action)
(2) Woroo or-jiku. ‘It rained /It was raining.’ (directly witnessed)
(3) Woroo or-jiγċəə. ‘It has rained /It has been raining’ (not witnessed)
(4) Wə kiilik-εεn ʊγaa-jii. ‘I am washing my shirt’ (speaker’s own action)
(5) Ter kiilik-εεn ʊγaa-jεεn. ‘He is washing his shirt.’ (non-speaker actor)
(6) ʃiniŋ-d jɔwω-sen æmite-s dɔː lɑ̌ kyr-tʃiː. (Oyunceceg 2009: 163)
Xining-DAT go-PRF.PTCP person-PL now FOC.PCL(only) arrive-DIR.PRS.PROG
‘The people who went to Xining are returning only now.’


Baɢatur, D. (ed.) 2016. Monggul kelen-ü bayiɢaji yariyan-u materiyal-un emkidkel [A collection of naturally occuring Mongolian speech]. Kökeqota: Öbür mongġul-un arad-un keblel-ün qoriy-a.
Balogh, Mátyás. 2017a. Henan Oirat: a shrinking pool of unique linguistic features. International Journal of the Sociology of Language 245: 36-62.
Balogh, Mátyás. 2017b. The demise of Oirat in the Henan Region of Qinghai and the Mongolization of a Mongol Autonomous County. Tüüxijn sudlal 46: 36-51.
Brosig, Benjamin. 2014. The aspect-evidentiality system of Middle Mongol. Ural-Altaic studies 13(2): 7-38.
Goto, K. V. 2009. Sistema finitnych form prošedšego vremeni v kalmyckom jazyke [The system of finite past tense forms in Kalmyk]. Acta linguistica petropolitana V.2: 124-159.
Oyunnasun. n.d. Kökenaɢur aman ayalɢun-u üge kelelge-yin materiyal [Text material of the Qinghai dialect]. Lanzhou: Baraɢun qoyidu-yin ündüsüten-ü yeke surɢaɢuli. Master thesis.
Oyunceceg. 2009. Degedü mongɢol aman ayalɢun-u sudulul [An investigation of the Deedmongol dialect]. Kökeqota: Öbür mongɢul-un arad-un keblel-ün qoriy-a.
Skribnik, Elena & Seesing, Olga. 2014. Evidentiality in Kalmyk. In: Aikhenvald, Alexandra & Dixon, R. (eds.), The grammar of knowledge, Oxford: Oxford University Press: 148-170.
Sun, Jackson. 1993. Evidentials in Amdo Tibetan. Bulletin of the Institute of History and Philology, Academia Sinica 63: 945-1001.
Zemp, Marius. 2017. The origin and evolution of the opposition between testimonial and factual evidentials in Purik and other varieties of Tibetan. Open Linguistics 3: 613–637.

Item Type:

Conference or Workshop Item (Speech)


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

UniBE Contributor:

Brosig, Benjamin


400 Language > 410 Linguistics
400 Language > 490 Other languages


[4] Swiss National Science Foundation ; [UNSPECIFIED] Hong Kong Polytechnic University


[1515] Evidentiality in Time and Space Official URL
[UNSPECIFIED] The emergence of evidentiality in Deed Mongol in its areal context




Benjamin Brosig

Date Deposited:

24 Sep 2021 15:31

Last Modified:

05 Dec 2022 15:53





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