The Structure of Evidential Categories in Wanka Quechua

Floyd, Rick

The study of evidentiality is in its relative infancy, and each new study in this largely unexplored area of linguistic structure reveals subtleties of grammatical and semantic behavior that give reason to reconsider and deepen analyses found in previous works.

Evidentiality is usually discussed in terms of the kinds of justification a speaker has for making a particular assertion. When the author first began studying the Wanka Quechua language, he was immediately struck with the fact that the evidential system was not behaving as he had expected. Careful consideration of the individual markers revealed semantic nuances that are not usually found in other treatments on this topic.

This volume provides a detailed look at the semantics of the evidential system of one Quechua language with implications for others. Parallels are noted with evidential systems of unrelated languages. The author analyzes the Wanka Quechua evidential system using a cognitive view of grammar and applies this approach to issues of semantics and category structure.

About the Author

Dr. Rick Floyd has studied the Wanka dialect of Quechua in the central Peruvian Andes since 1981. He earned his Ph.D. in linguistics at the University of California in San Diego in 1993 and is a member of the International Cognitive Linguistics Association and the Society for the Study of the Indigenous Languages of the Americas. He has taught phonetics and other courses at several SIL schools and is a linguistic consultant of SIL Peru. He is also the coauthor of Articulatory Phonetics: Tools for Analyzing the World's Languages and numerous articles.

Table of Contents:


  1. Introduction
  2. Toward a Definition of Evidentiality
  3. Theory, Deixis, and Evidentiality
  4. Direct Evidence and Commitment
  5. Inference and Attenuation
  6. Hearsay and Revelation
  7. On Directness, Proximity, Ground Domains, and Evidentials


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