Sunday, 20 June 2010

Evidentials focus

As mentioned before, the evidentials can be affixed to verbs, nouns or adjectives with different results. In fact in a sentence the place where one affixes the evidentials makes subtle changes in the sense of the sentence. For example, if we go back to our sample sentence: qappaka pile.

Using the "hear-say evidential" we can get qappakan pile or qappaka pilen. The first one means "I've heard I eat fish", while the second would be closer in meaning to "Fish is what I've heard I eat". The difference is very subtle, but can be used for rhetorical purposes.

In fact qappakach pile means "I assume I eat fish", but qappaka pilech means "I assume that what I eat is fish". That's why a sentence like qappaka piles sounds a lot like "What I'm eating IS fish". Depending where the evidential is placed the focus shifts.


  1. Seems logical and very useful. Like it.
    But when does one add the -i after, for instance, the "hear-say evidential"'s -n(i)?

  2. Well, that has to do with the fact that the verb ending is ma, ka, da, ta for the present and man, kan, dan, tan for the past, as I will post shortly. That's why, to avoid confusion, the evidential takes the long form -ni. Also to avoid difficult pronunciations such as kan-s "fact evidential" where it shifts to its long form -kansi.

    This will be posted shortly.

  3. That is very clever, using evidential markers also for focus. I shall have to use this myself some time. :)

  4. Well, thank you so much! I'm glad you liked it. :)

    You can even use long evidentials where you would use the short ones to make a kinds of emphasis, also the last vowel would probably receive the stress when doing this. Compar: qappakas "I am eating" to qappakasí which would sound closer to "I am eating, man!"