On Evidential Strategies in Manchu
(57th Annual Meeting of the PIAC Vladivostok, 2014)
The concept of evidentiality, which is understood in this paper as the speaker’s indication of source of information, and the grammatical encoding of evidentiality, have not yet been specially investigated in manchurology. This is largely because of the absence of evidentiality as a grammatical category in the (Classical) Manchu language. At first sight it appears that source of information is indicated only lexically in Manchu, mostly by certain independent verbs or other lexical devices. However, the whole situation is not so simple, and in this respect some very interesting issues can arise. In answering some important questions we can shed light on this field of knowledge – not only in manchurology, but in the wider range of Altaic languages, from a cross-linguistic perspective. These issues are as follows:
(1) the types of grammatical means for encoding evidentiality; (2) the degree of grammaticalisation of lexico-grammatical units used to express evidential meanings; (3) the origin and development of evidential markers; (4) the correlation of evidentiality with other grammatical categories, such as modality, tense-aspect system, transitivity of verbs, personality and clausal types; (5) conditional forms as involved in both expressing evidentiality and performing particular pragmatic functions in Manchu, which can also be realised by means of other structures. In addition, we will also have to investigate the semantic properties of perception and cognition verbs and obtain a better understanding of the internal semantic structure of these subclasses of Manchu verbs. Last but not least, we intend to provide some information about the frequency of usage of these verbs in the evidential function.