LINGUIST List 15.2975

Wed Oct 20 2004

Books: Typology: Aikhenvald

Editor for this issue: Megan Zdrojkowski <>

Links to the websites of all LINGUIST's supporting publishers are available at the end of this issue.


        1.    Lowri Jones, Evidentiality: Aikhenvald

Message 1: Evidentiality: Aikhenvald

Date: 14-Oct-2004
From: Lowri Jones <>
Subject: Evidentiality: Aikhenvald

Title: Evidentiality
Published: 2004
Publisher: Oxford University Press

Book URL:

Author: Alexandra Aikhenvald, La Trobe University

Hardback: ISBN: 0199263884 Pages: 416 Price: U.K. £ 55


In some languages every statement must contain a specification of the type
of evidence on which it is based: for example, whether the speaker saw it,
or heard it, or inferred it from indirect evidence, or learnt it from
someone else. This grammatical reference to information source is called
'evidentiality', and is one of the least described grammatical categories.
Evidentiality systems differ in how complex they are: some distinguish just
two terms (eyewitness and noneyewitness, or reported and everything else),
while others have six or even more terms. Evidentiality is a category in
its own right, and not a subcategory of epistemic or some other modality,
nor of tense-aspect.

Every language has some way of referring to the source of information, but
not every language has grammatical evidentiality. In English, expressions
such as I guess, they say, I hear that, the alleged are not obligatory and
do not constitute a grammatical system. Similar expressions in other
languages may provide historical sources for evidentials. True evidentials,
by contrast, form a grammatical system. In the North Arawak language
Tariana an expression such as "the dog bit the man" must be augmented by a
grammatical suffix indicating whether the event was seen, or heard, or
assumed, or reported.

This book provides the first exhaustive cross-linguistic typological study
of how languages deal with the marking of information source. Examples are
drawn from over 500 languages from all over the world, several of them
based on the author's original fieldwork. Professor Aikhenvald also
considers the role evidentiality plays in human cognition, and the ways in
which evidentiality influences human perception of the world. This is an
important book on an intriguing subject. It will interest anthropologists,
cognitive psychologists and philosophers, as well as linguists.

Linguistic Field(s): Anthropological Linguistics
                            Cognitive Science

Written In: English (Language Code: ENG )

See this book announcement on our website:

-------------------------- Major Supporters --------------------------
Blackwell Publishing
Cambridge University Press
Continuum International Publishing Group Ltd
Edinburgh University Press
Elsevier Ltd.
Equinox Publishing Ltd.
Georgetown University Press
John Benjamins
Lawrence Erlbaum Associates
Lincom GmbH
MIT Press
Mouton de Gruyter
Oxford University Press
Routledge (Taylor and Francis)

---------------------- Other Supporting Publishers ----------------------
Anthropological Linguistics
Arawak Publications
CSLI Publications
Canadian Journal of Linguistics
Cascadilla Press
Graduate Linguistic Students' Assoc., Umass
International Pragmatics Assoc.
Kingston Press Ltd
Linguistic Assoc. of Finland
MIT Working Papers in Linguistics
Multilingual Matters
Pacific Linguistics
Palgrave Macmillan
Pearson Longman
SIL International
St. Jerome Publishing Ltd.
Utrecht Institute of Linguistics


Respond to list|Read more issues|LINGUIST home page|Top of issue