Volume 44, Issue 2
  • ISSN 0731-3500
  • E-ISSN: 2214-5907
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This exploratory study focuses on the use of hearsay evidential marking in the course of storytelling in a Tibetic language, Lhagang Tibetan, combining a descriptive linguistic approach with a literary-theoretic analysis. Tibetic languages generally possess a morpho-syntactically encoded evidential-epistemic system, in which the hearsay evidential represents a non-first-hand information source. However, we find a random use of the hearsay evidential marker in the oral literature of Lhagang Tibetan, although it has been transmitted from one generation to another by storytellers. The article aims to provide a reasonable explanation for the use of the hearsay evidential in storytelling. It proposes that hearsay evidential marking reflects the speaker’s attitude towards the utterance to either avoid full responsibility for the utterance or enhance the utterance’s authenticity. The former objective principally appears in telling a story based on a weak memory of the story; the latter appears in telling a legend. This explanation is supported by oral literature theory, especially the arguments regarding the difference between folktales and legends.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
Keyword(s): discourse strategy; evidentiality; hearsay; oral literature; Tibetic
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