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Shared vs. Primary Epistemic Authority in Jaminjung/Ngaliwurru

Eva Schultze-Berndt
Published Online: 2017-10-20 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/opli-2017-0010


This paper contributes to the typology of complex perspective markers by presenting an in-depth analysis of a system of epistemic authority marking which functionally overlaps with, but has no exact parallels in, similar systems attested cross-linguistically; it is also the first analysis of grammaticalised marking of epistemic authority in a language of Australia. Jaminjung/Ngaliwurru, a language of the Mirndi family, distinguishes between primary and shared epistemic authority by means of two non-obligatory clitics. By employing the first clitic, speakers claim privileged (asymmetrical) access to evidence informing their utterance; the holder of epistemic primacy shifts to addressees in questions. The second marker, which is transparently related to a 1st+2nd person minimal pronoun, indicates shared (symmetrical) epistemic access, but is further constrained in its distribution in that the evidence has to be accessible at the time of discourse and in that the encoded situation itself is not yet part of the common ground. In the light of the proposed analysis as well as cross-linguistic findings, it will be argued that epistemic authority markers more generally can be considered as part of a single functional domain with evidentials, and that this domain also includes egophoricity.

Keywords : evidentiality; epistemic authority; egophoricity; intersubjectivity; grammaticalisation


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About the article

Received: 2016-08-26

Accepted: 2017-05-16

Published Online: 2017-10-20

Published in Print: 2017-10-26

Citation Information: Open Linguistics, Volume 3, Issue 1, Pages 178–218, ISSN (Online) 2300-9969, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/opli-2017-0010.

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