Alexander Nilsson

Researcher at Department of Linguistics and Philology

Visiting address:
Engelska parken
Thunbergsvägen 3H

Postal address:
Box 635
751 26 UPPSALA

Short presentation

The subject of my doctoral thesis is evidentiality in written and spoken Tajik of Dushanbe, Tajikistan.

Topics of interest and research:

  • the function of evidentials in written and spoken Tajik
  • the interplay of lexical and grammatical markers of evidentiality
  • the use of non-witnessed forms in narration as a literary device for indicating a shift between the narrator’s omniscient knowledge and the limited knowledge of any given character
  • the function of the conjectural mode

Keywords: evidentiality tajik indirectivity mirativity persian uzbek turkic languages epistemic modality

By ’evidentiality’ is meant the linguistical expression of how a speaker has obtained knowledge about a particular event. These information sources can be, but are not limited to, eye-witnessing, hearing, reporting and inferring. In most languages, this ’source of information’ can be expressed either by lexical means or verb semantics, but in some languages evidentiality is a grammatical category in its own right, i.e. by using different verbal forms one expresses the source of information. Turkish is a case in point. It has two complementary verb forms for denoting direct (witnessed) and indirect (non-witnessed) evidentials. For example, there are two different ways of saying 'He came':

  • geldi (Witnessed form, i.e. the speaker has seen the event)
  • gelmiş (Non-witnessed, i.e. the speaker has not seen it, but has either heard this from others or inferred it from existing signs)

Tajik, however, does not have an ’evidential system’ like that of Turkish, but rather an ’evidentiality stategy’. By this is meant that the verbal forms that convey indirect evidentiality also convey other meanings (mostly resultative meanings). Thus, there is no specific grammatical category in Tajik that solely denotes evidentiality, there are however verbal forms that to a greater and lesser extent can convey indirect evidentials.

Please contact the directory administrator for the organization (department or similar) to correct possible errors in the information.

Alexander Nilsson