Volume 42, Issue 4
  • ISSN 0378-4177
  • E-ISSN: 1569-9978
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2,500 years ago Pāṇini identified the Sanskrit perfect form as expressing a non-witnessed, and therefore, evidential meaning. Across languages, the perfect is still attested as one of the central verb forms acquiring meanings of information source. This paper investigates the development of the perfect meaning into evidential meanings from two vantage points: firstly, cross-linguistically, and, secondly, in the North-Tungusic language Even. The perfect meaning typically evolves into the evidential meaning of inference, a development which has been documented in two of the three main dialects of Even by Malchukov (2000). Inference is accompanied by a mirative interpretation in first-person contexts; the current study shows that this interpretation extends to second person. As is cross-linguistically common, in Even inference has evolved to a non-witnessed meaning. By losing its perfect “nature”, this use has crossed over to the domain of discourse to signal a narrative genre by functioning as a narrative tense.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
Keyword(s): Even; evidentiality; perfect
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