An Areal-Typological Perspective to Evidentiality: the Cases of the Balkan and Baltic Linguistic Areas
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Approaching the category of evidentiality from a comparative typological perspective, this thesis sets itself three specific goals: 1) to compare the evidentiality systems of the languages of the Balkan and Baltic linguistic areas and to measure the typological distances between them, 2) to contribute in solving the problem concerning the relationship between the category of evidentiality and the category of epistemic modality, and 3) to show which are the most probable scenarios for the historical development of the evidentiality coding based on participles. The first task is fulfilled by applying a set of formal, semantic and syntagmatic parameters to the comparison of the evidentiality systems of Bulgarian, Macedonian, Albanian, Turkish, Estonian, Latvian and Lithuanian. The comparison reveals several implications between the features of these evidentiality systems. The typological distances between these evidentiality systems are measured using van der Auwera’s (1998) isopleth method, and the relevant results show that the evidentiality systems of Bulgarian, Macedonian, Turkish and Lithuanian are very similar. The results with regard the second goal of the thesis suggest that evidentiality and epistemic modality are inherently related categories and could be accounted for by a single parent category. As for the third goal, new empirical evidence shows that the evidential coding based on past participles in Estonian derives either from de-subordination of speech complements, or from auxiliary ellipsis in compound past tense, but not from the ancient use of participles as predicates.