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date: 21 February 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter investigates evidentiality in Formosan languages. Five Formosan languages—Bunun, Paiwan, Kanakanavu, Saaroa, and Tsou—are discussed. Evidentiality in these languages is a grammatical category in its own right, and not a subcategory of epistemic or some other modality, or of tense-aspect. The system of grammatical evidentials in Formosan languages has a limited number of choices. Formosan languages with grammatical evidentials divide into types depending on how many information sources are assigned a distinct grammatical marking. Except for Tsou with the richest system of grammatical evidentials, other Formosan languages are relatively poor in evidentiality. In Formosan languages with grammatical evidentials, Tsou is the only language that requires information source to be obligatorily marked in grammar. Other Formosan languages optionally use evidentials in order to ensure efficient communication. This chapter is the first typological study of grammatical evidentiality in Formosan languages.

Keywords: evidentiality, Formosan languages, Bunun, Paiwan, Kanakanavu, Saaroa, Tsou

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