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The Origin and Evolution of the Opposition between Testimonial and Factual Evidentials in Purik and Other Varieties of Tibetan

Marius Zemp
Published Online: 2017-12-22 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/opli-2017-0031


The main purpose of this paper is to elucidate a special type of egophoric markers found in Purik and other varieties of Tibetan. These factual evidential markers, deriving from the Written Tibetan existential copula yod, are regularly used in Purik to profile not only events in which the informant participates, but also events which the informant is in the position to describe as facts even if she does not directly participate in them. The factual function of yod is argued here to reflect the indicative function yod served when it was the only existential copula at a stage of the language in which no evidential functions had grammaticalized yet. A comparison of the evidential inventory of Purik with those of other well documented Tibetan varieties reveals that it was in resultative constructions that yod first became contrasted by ’dug *‘was there’, facilitating the reanalysis of two evidentially opposed existential copulas. Hence, the factual meaning of yod formed in contrast to testimonial ’dug. The evolution of the factual yod is traced from its first emergence up to its restriction to egophoric contexts in Central Tibetan, and compared with that of egophoric markers in West Himalayish Bunan.

Keywords: factual evidential; wide-range egophoric; Tibetan


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About the article

Received: 2017-08-22

Accepted: 2017-11-27

Published Online: 2017-12-22

Published in Print: 2017-12-20

Citation Information: Open Linguistics, Volume 3, Issue 1, Pages 613–637, ISSN (Online) 2300-9969, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/opli-2017-0031.

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© 2017. This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 License. BY-NC-ND 4.0

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