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Martinez, Philippe Antoine (2021) A corpus-based account of morphosyntactic evidentiality in discourse in Chhitkul-Rākchham. PhD thesis. SOAS University of London. DOI:

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Chhitkul-Rākchham is a Tibeto-Burman language of the Bodic branch spoken in Northern India. Evidentiality is expressed by means of a range of morphosyntactic devices: copulas, auxiliaries, suffixes, clitics, particles and converb constructions. Chapter 1 deals with the language context. High-caste members – the Chhitkul-Rākchham speakers – were not the original inhabitants of this area. Chhitkul-Rākchham is not Tibetic, rather, it shows similarities with the Kiranti subgroup. Chapter 2 provides a chronological and thematic overview of evidentiality from the beginning of the 20th century to the present. I introduce my own theoretical apparatus and I address issues related to methods. Chapter 3 introduces the Chhitkul-Rākchham verbal system: finite and non-finite verb inflection and negation. Chapter 4 focuses on copula clauses, where five copula verbs and a set of syntactic allomorphs are part of an epistemic scheme that notably includes emphasis. Their distribution is to a large extent semantically and pragmatically driven. Chapter 5 deals with auxiliation. I demonstrate that it is the hierarchical arrangement of the verbal categories – main verbs, second verbs and auxiliaries – and not auxiliaries taken in isolation, which provides an adequate overview of the phenomenon. Chapter 6 gives an account of reported evidentiality, never epistemically neutral and expressed by means of a hearsay clitic and a quotative adverbial complementizer. Chapter 7 sheds light on a few converb constructions invariably followed by the perceptual copula (or a syntactic allomorph). The copula dampens the dubitative or emphatic meaning carried by the converb. Chapter 8 shows that a pair of discourse particles – one emphatic and one assertive – is part of the evidential system. Chapter 9 deals with evidentiality at the noun phrase level, expressed by morphosyntactic means already present at the verbal level (final particles and copulas). I uncover seven evidential distinctions: perceptual, dubitative, assertive, personal experience, personal assertive, reported, and neutral.

Item Type: Theses (PhD)
SOAS Departments & Centres: SOAS Research Theses
Supervisors Name: Nathan Hill
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
Date Deposited: 08 Oct 2021 09:36

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