Evidentiality Project


Evidentiality is a grammatical category with source of information as its primary meaning—whether the speaker saw the event happen, did not see it but heard it, made an inference based on general knowledge or visual traces, or was told about it. Languages may distinguish firsthand and non-firsthand information or have a special marker just for reported evidentiality. In larger evidential systems, firsthand or visual evidential may contrast with nonvisual, inferred, assumed, and reported. Evidentiality is a verbal category in its own right. It does not bear any straightforward relationship to the expression of the speaker’s responsibility or attitude toward the statement. Neither is evidentiality a subcategory of modality or a tense. Nonevidential categories, including perfect aspect, past tense, conditional, and other modalities and complementation devices, can develop meanings related to information source. French linguists employ the term “mediative.” Scholars of Quechua use the term “validational” or “verificational.”

This site contains resources on evidentiality, with special reference to The Oxford Handbook of Evidentiality, edited by Alexandra Y. Aikhenvald (scheduled for publication, with Oxford University Press, in 2017).

The Oxford Handbook of Evidentiality - Guidelines & notes for contributors

Alexandra Y. Aikhenvald (editor). Language and Culture Research Centre, James Cook University. Estimated length: c. 250,000 words. Estimated date of completion: late 2016.

  1. Book description
  2. Table of contents with authors
  3. Standard list of abbreviations for the Oxford Handbook of Evidentiality
  4. Notes for the preparation of copy: The Oxford Handbook of Evidentiality
  5. Evidentials: a checklist of points
  6. General notes for contributors to OUP Handbooks & edited collections
  7. References