Children's acquisition of evidentiality

Abstract

This paper is concerned with the acquisition of the semantics and pragmatics of evidentiality. Evidentiality markers encode the speaker’s source for the information being reported in the utterance. While languages like English express evidentiality in lexical markers (I saw that it was raining vs. I heard that it was raining), other languages grammaticalize evidentiality. In Turkish, for all instances of past reference there is an obligatory choice between the suffixes -DI (realized as –di, -dı, -du, -dü, -ti, -tı, -tu, -tü depending on the vowel harmony) and –mIs (realized as -mis, -mıs, -mus, -müs depending on the vowel harmony). These past-tense morphemes also carry evidential meanings: the morpheme –DI is used to describe witnessed events and the morpheme –mIs is used to describe information acquired from someone (hearsay) or some clue (inference).

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