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Evidentiality drift (WAS: Pronouns & sexuality)

From:Sai Emrys <saizai@...>
Date:Friday, February 27, 2009, 4:26
On Thu, Feb 26, 2009 at 6:46 PM, Herman Miller <hmiller@...> wrote:
> Back to the framing idea though: if you've got a language like Tirelat, > where you can't express tense without evidentiality, it's pretty much clear > from the language what each side would consider to be reliable facts as > opposed to opinion or hearsay. If you have a conflict of opinions, no big > deal, but if facts are in dispute, you won't be considered credible unless > you can back them up. Ultimately, I'm not sure that would be of much help > though, because the meanings of the words would still differ.
I wonder: would such use of evidentials survive over time? Surely politics (and the more subtle interpersonal sorts) would erase these distinctions; simply put, it's useful to misrepresent your evidence, or to state your opinions as facts. So evidentials would drift to become a matter of simple emphasis or stress. (in the same way that people now use "x is literally y" to mean "x is figuratively but emphatically y"). Do any of you know of how a natlang with evidentials has handled this IRL? - Sai


Benct Philip Jonsson <bpj@...>
Herman Miller <hmiller@...>