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Linguistic Typology

Founded by Plank, Frans

Editor-in-Chief: Koptjevskaja-Tamm, Maria

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Volume 16, Issue 3


“Mirativity” does not exist: ḥdug in “Lhasa” Tibetan and other suspects

Nathan W. Hill
Published Online: 2012-12-30 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/lity-2012-0016


Largely through the efforts of Scott DeLancey the grammatical category “mirative” has gained currency in linguistics. DeLancey bases his elaboration of this category on a misunderstanding of the semantics of ḥdug in “Lhasa” Tibetan. Rather than showing “surprising information”, linguists working on Tibetan have long described ḥdug as a sensory evidential. Much of the evidence DeLancey and Aikhenvald present for mirativity in other languages is also susceptible to explanation in terms of sensory evidence or appears close to Lazard's “mediative” (1999) or Johanson's “indirective” (2000). Until an independent grammatical category for “new information” is described in a way which precludes analysis in terms of sensory evidence or other well established evidential categories, mirativity should be excluded from the descriptive arsenal of linguistic analysis.

About the article

Published Online: 2012-12-30

Published in Print: 2012-11-27

Citation Information: Linguistic Typology, Volume 16, Issue 3, Pages 389–433, ISSN (Online) 1613-415X, ISSN (Print) 1430-0532, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/lity-2012-0016.

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