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date: 21 February 2020

(p. ix) Preface

(p. ix) Preface

Evidentiality—or grammatical encoding of information source—is a topic which fascinates linguists, anthropologists, and even journalists and the general public. This volume aims at providing a framework and state-of-the art view of evidentiality in its various guises, in the light of recent achievements and current developments in the field of linguistics. We place special focus on the analysis of evidentiality systems in the world’s languages within a typological perspective, thus contributing to the appreciation of linguistic diversity. The majority of contributors are experts in inductively based linguistic analysis of grammatical structures of individual languages. This empirical focus is one of the highlights of the volume.

I owe the idea of putting this book together to Julia Steer, of Oxford University Press. Without her unfailing support and assistance at every stage, this project would not have been possible. Vicki Sunter and Karen Morgan, of OUP, have also been immensely helpful at every stage. I am grateful to all the contributors to this volume, for their chapters, comments, and scholarly interaction throughout the creation of this volume. R. M. W. Dixon provided comments and on-going support (in addition to insights on various languages of his expertise). Many thanks go to Professor Nola Alloway, Dean of the College of Arts, Society, and Education at James Cook University, and the Division of Tropical Environment and Society, for their moral and financial support. The work on this volume was partially supported by the Australian Research Council Discovery Project ‘How languages differ and why’, and my Australian Laureate Fellowship ‘How gender shapes the world: a linguistic perspective’. We all owe a special debt of gratitude to Brigitta Flick, Angela Lansdown, and Jolene Overall, for meticulous editorial assistance, checking the manuscripts, and formatting them. Adella Edwards did a remarkable job helping many contributors prepare their maps. The JCU library, under the leadership of Heather Gordon, provided all the necessary resources. Special thanks go to Bronwen Forster and Carolyn Tredrea. The efficient interlibrary loan system worked like clockwork—many many thanks indeed to Lyn Clarke, Janine Meakins, Bridie Soo, and many other friends and colleagues at JCU library. A very big ‘thank you’ goes to Jolene Overall for her assistance and support at the Language and Culture Research Centre. And last but not least—our eternal debt is to speakers of languages with evidentials who shared their remarkable knowledge and insights with us, linguists, and fieldworkers. This volume is a homage to them all.

Alexandra Y. Aikhenvald

Language and Culture Research Centre,

James Cook University, Australia (p. x)