Looking for evidentiality (and mirativity) in Bantu



evidentiality, mirativity, Bantu, quotatives, tense and aspect, actionality, lexical aspect, evidential strategies


Although Bantu languages are not known for having grammaticalized and obligatory systems of evidentiality, research is uncovering more and more evidential contrasts and evidential strategies, as well as expressions of related categories like mirativity. In this article, I describe, with examples from the literature and my own research, two domains in which I believe targeted investigations are likely to uncover additional examples of evidential and mirative meanings. The first domain is quotatives, which very frequently have evidential and mirative functions, but which are largely underdescribed across Bantu. The second domain is tense and aspect, which is somewhat better described, but where little is known about associated evidential functions. I especially highlight cases in which two forms have overlapping denotative temporal or aspectual meanings, and evidential and similar contrasts can arise as a result.


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