Glossary of Linguistic Terms



by Teija Greed, March 2022 

Evidentiality is a linguistic category whose primary meaning is information source. In a number of languages evidential meanings are expressed through grammatical means: the speaker conveys the source of knowledge for his or her statement with special evidential markers. Some languages, for example, Tariana spoken in Amazonia, has obligatory marking of information source: with verb affixes the speaker indicates the source of his or her knowledge. Evidentiality is distinct from (epistemic) modality which concerns the speaker’s evaluation of his or her statement, for example, with regard to its certainty.

In the area of grammatical evidentiality, to decribe evidential meanings, semantic parameters, such as visual, sensory, inference, assumption, reported and quotative (Aikhenvald 2014 (2016): 9), are commonly used. Evidentiality is also studied in the context of the French médiativité (Guentchéva 1996; Guentchéva & Laudabury 2007), and especially in Turkic languages under the term indirectivity (Johanson & Utas 2000).