LINGUIST List 31.2972

Thu Oct 01 2020

Calls: Hist Ling, Semantics, Typology/Switzerland

Editor for this issue: Lauren Perkins <>

Date: 01-Oct-2020
From: Benjamin Brosig <>
Subject: Evidentiality 2.0: Integrating egophoricity, focusing on equipollent contrasts, and re-examining visual evidentials
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Full Title: Evidentiality 2.0: Integrating egophoricity, focusing on equipollent contrasts, and re-examining visual evidentials

Date: 05-Sep-2021 - 06-Sep-2021
Location: Bern, Switzerland
Contact Person: Marius Zemp
Meeting Email: < click here to access email >
Web Site:

Linguistic Field(s): Historical Linguistics; Semantics; Typology

Call Deadline: 31-Dec-2020

Meeting Description:

The project ''Evidentiality in time and space'' (Benjamin Brosig, Marius Zemp, Fernando Zúñiga) at the Institute of Linguistics of the University of Bern is organizing this workshop from 5-Sept-2021 to 6-Sept-2021 with the intention of bringing together researchers working on different evidentiality systems to address the status of egophoricity vis-a-vis evidentiality, the role of evidential oppositions, and the definition of visual evidentials.

Following Willet (1988) and Aikhenvald (2004, 2018), most accounts of evidentiality systems throughout the world exclude markers which are ''used when the speaker was the agent of the action reported'' because ''the source of evidence does not seem to be their primary meaning'' (Willet 1988: 91). However, these markers may still function as ''the linguistic means of indicating how the speaker obtained the information on which s/he bases an assertion'', i.e. to what Willet (1988: 55) identifies as the common thread in all previously expressed views on evidentiality. Accordingly, Willet’s exclusion of markers occurring with speaker subjects may have been unjustified, and we suggest re-including them, which would then essentially correspond to analyzing markers commonly called ''egophoric'' as evidentials (Tournadre 1991; Floyd et al. 2018).

Egophoric markers form equipollent oppositions with other evidentials in languages from all regions for which grammaticalized evidentiality has been described: the Greater Himalayan Region (GHR, see below), the New Guinea Highlands (San Roque & Loughnane 2012), the Caucasus (Creissels 2008), and the Americas (e.g., for Tucanoan languages, see Barnes 1984, Stenzel 2008; Barbacoan: Dickinson 2000, Curnow 2002; and Pomoan: Oswalt 1986, McLendon 2003). As contrasting evidentials appear to be defined against each other at least in the GHR, we argue that the inclusion of egophoric markers is crucial for an adequate account of such evidential contrasts. In languages of the GHR, we can distinguish the following types of equipollent evidential contrasts (for a few details on these contrasts, see
The goal of the workshop is to discuss and develop this tentative typology by taking into consideration evidentiality systems from all regions of the world:
- Direct vs. indirect (past tense markers)
- Factual vs. immediate (existential copulas)
- High vs. low degree of personal involvement (equational copulas)
- Internal (conjunct) vs. external (disjunct) (different tenses in different languages)

The inclusion of egophorics as evidentials not only allows us to recognize several different types of such evidentials. It also reveals that what has been viewed as a characteristic of egophorics and conjunct-disjunct oppositions (Floyd et al. 2018: 2–6), namely that these markers anticipate the perspective of the addressee in a question and reflect the perspective of the source in a reported speech clause (i.e. of the ''informant''), characterizes all equipollent evidential contrasts found in the GHR (see Zemp 2020: 31–2). The findings of San Roque et al. (2017) suggest that this also applies to evidentials in other parts of the world.

Call for Papers:

We invite scholars to (re-)investigate evidential systems from all around the world and to clarify the meaning and role of each evidential (X) within these systems by seeking answers to questions such as the following:

- Is X defined against another (or even more than one) evidential?
- Does X have an inherent tense/aspect-value? If so, does it share this value with a contrasting construction (Y)? Is there any evidence that X and Y may have originally had different tense/aspect-values?
- If X occurs in questions and/or in reported speech, whose perspective does it reflect there?
- Does X predominantly occur when the informant is the subject, and exceptionally when s/he is not? Or does X predominantly occur when the informant is not the subject, and exceptionally when s/he is? Under what circumstances do these uses arise?
- Does X have cognates? If so, is it possible to diachronically account for how it may have developed?

We invite scholars also to re-investigate constructions previously analyzed as ''visual evidentials'', as this label may not always be justified. Many alleged ''visual evidentials'' occur in statements in which the speaker is the subject (for Amazonian languages, see Barnes 1984: 259; Malone 1988: 127–8; Miller 1999: 65; Aikhenvald 2003: 293; Stenzel 2008: 412), but according to none of these authors do the constructions in question convey that the speaker looks at her/his own action from an outside perspective (which we would expect from visual evidentials).

Abstracts (approx. 500 words, excluding references) should be sent to Marius Zemp ( by 31 December 2020. Notification of acceptance/rejection will be given by 15 February 2021. Presentations should be 30 minutes, plus 10 minutes for discussion.

Participation is free of charge. Details on the social program will follow later on. Travel and accommodation costs will be borne by the participants. The organizers are currently checking whether travel support for participants in need of such might be possible. If applicable, please contact the organizers.

Page Updated: 01-Oct-2020