Linguistics Department

Colloquium - Andrés Salanova (University of Ottowa)

The aspectual core of the meaning of evidentials, miratives and frustratives

Mon, October 22, 2018 | RLP 1.302E

3:00 PM - 5:00 PM

An overlap between certain types of evidentials, miratives, and perfect aspect has been recognized in the typological literature for a while (Comrie 1976, Aikhenvald 2004). The relationship between aspectual and evidential (and mirative) meaning, though, seems accidental in most current formal theories of evidentiality, whether they approach evidentiality as a type of modality (as, e.g., Matthewson et al 2007) or as an illocutionary operator (as, e.g., Faller 2002), despite an early proposal connecting them (Izvorski 1997).


Some recent work (Kalsang et al 2013, Lee 2013, a.o.) addresses this issue by building on a widely accepted formalization of aspectual meaning as relationships between temporal intervals (Klein 1994) to characterize evidentials as relating various situations, in particular the event situation and an evidence acquisition situation. Beyond providing a restrictive theory of evidential meaning, that general approach also opens up the possibility of exploring the interaction between evidentials (and possibly other elements encoding speaker perspective) and temporal and aspectual categories.


In this talk I explore evidence acquisition situations critically in relation to three problems: the doubly tensed evidential of Matsés (Fleck 2007, Arregui et al 2017), the Guaraní mirative evidential (Salanova and Carol 2017, Pancheva and Zubizarreta 2018), and frustratives in Mẽbengokre and Chorote (Carol and Salanova 2018). I advance that a semantic representation paralleling that of aspect offers a proper characterization of the meaning of complex indirect evidentials, miratives, and frustratives, and argue further that, if one wants to capture the interactions between the perspectival meanings conveyed by them and aspect, the times manipulated by perspectival operators have to be the same times (i.e., event time, reference time) manipulated by aspectual operators.





Aikhenvald, Aleksandra. 2004. Evidentiality. Oxford University Press.


Arregui, Ana, María Luisa Rivero, and Andrés Pablo Salanova. 2017. Aspect and tense in evidentials. In Modality across syntactic categories, ed. by Ana Arregui et al. Oxford University Press.


Carol, Javier and Andrés Pablo Salanova. 2018. Frustratives and viewpoint. Handout of talk given at SULA 10.


Comrie, Bernard. 1976. Aspect. Cambridge University Press.


Faller, Martina. 2002. Semantics and Pragmatics of Evidentials in Cuzco Quechua. PhD dissertation, Stanford.


Fleck, David. 2007. Evidentiality and double tense in Matses. Language 83(3):589-614.


Izvorski, Roumyana. 1997. The present perfect as an epistemic modal. SALT VII, 222-239.


Kalsang, Jay Garfield, Margaret Speas and Jill de Villiers. 2013. Direct evidentials, case, tense and aspect in Tibetan: evidence for a general theory of the semantics of evidential. Natural Language and Linguistic Theory 31: 517-561.


Klein, Wolfgang. 1994. Time in language. Routledge.


Lee, Jungmee. 2013. Temporal constraints on the meaning of evidentiality. Natural Language Semantics 21:1-41.


Matthewson, Lisa, Henry Davis and Hotze Rullmann. 2007. Evidentials as epistemic modals: Evidence from St'át'imcets. Linguistic Variation Yearbook 7: 201-254.


Pancheva, Roumyana, and María Luisa Zubizarreta. 2018. On the role of person features in the evidential-temporal connection. Ms., USC.


Salanova, Andrés and Javier Carol. 2017. The Guaraní mirative evidential and the decomposition of mirativity. NELS 47.

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