Article published in:The Rise and Development of Evidential and Epistemic Markers
Edited by Silvio Cruschina and Eva-Maria Remberger
[Journal of Historical Linguistics 7:1/2] 2017
► pp. 245–274
The evolution of egophoricity and evidentiality in the Himalayas
The case of Bunan
The epistemic verbal categories “evidentiality” and “egophoricity” play an important role in the verbal systems of many Tibeto-Burman languages of the Himalayas. In the course of the past decades, our synchronic understanding of those grammatical categories has been considerably enhanced by numerous descriptive studies. However, little is still known about the diachronic processes that give rise to evidentiality and egophoricity. The article addresses this gap by discussing evidence from Bunan, a Tibeto-Burman language, for which the development of evidentiality and egophoricity in its past tense system can be reconstructed in detail. It is argued that the evolution of the two categories can be explained by reference to two processes: (i) the reanalysis of a resultative construction as an inferential past tense and (ii) the reanalysis of third person agreement markers as allophoric markers. In addition, it is maintained that the concept of Scalar Quantity Implicature is crucial to account for the evolution of the two categories.
Keywords: Tibeto-Burman, egophoricity, evidentiality, epistemic verbal categories, historical linguistics
Published online: 23 November 2017
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