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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Don’t believe in a paradigm that you haven’t manipulated yourself! – Evidentiality, speaker attitude, and admirativity in Ladakhi


A speaker may conceptualise and represent a situation from three different ‘perspectives’: epistemic, evidential, and attitudinal. Languages differ in which of these con­cepts they profile and how a grammaticalised category may be extended to the other two. The grammatical systems of lesser-known languages tend to be misrepresented in the typological literature. Modern Tibetic languages including the Ladakhi dialects are said to have grammaticalised evidentiality. However, their ‘evidential’ systems differ from the typologically more common systems, in that speaker attitude is co-grammaticalised and knowledge based on perception shares properties with knowledge based on inferences. The starting point for the development of this, as it seems, typologically rather uncommon ‘evidential system’ was a lexical marker for non-commitment (or admirativity): the auxiliary ḥdug.

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