Feature GB323: Is there grammatical marking of indirect evidence (hearsay, inference, etc.)?

Patrons: Hannah J. Haynie



This question is concerned with the marking of evidentiality related to the speaker's indirect, non-sensory evidence for some event or action. Grammatical marking of evidentials involves the use of grammaticalized markers such as affixes or other morphology, evidential particles, or evidential auxiliary verbs to convey the evidential meaning, in contrast to constructions that create this meaning through the use of adverbs (e.g. John reportedly ate the cake) or lexical verbs in multi-clause constructions (e.g. They say that John ate the cake). Indirect evidentiality usually involves inference from physical evidence or second-hand knowledge such as hearsay. This question should be coded 1 if there is a single category of indirect evidentiality or any number of inferential or reportative evidential categories that are marked grammatically.


  1. If the language has one or more grammatical marker(s) (affixes, other morphology, particles auxiliaries) dedicated to expressing that the speaker has indirect evidence (e.g. hearsay, inference) of an event or action, code 1.
  2. If the language does not use a grammatical marker to indicate that the speaker has indirect evidence of an event or action, code 0.
  3. If the language expresses indirect evidence of an event or action only through the use of adverbs or lexical verbs in periphrastic constructions, code 0.


Eastern Pomo (ISO 639-3: peb, Glottolog: east2545)

"·le, the hearsay evidential suffix, indicates that the speaker’s information comes not from direct observation or experience, but rather from someone else’s recounting of the events described. The hearsay evidential is generally not translated, but occasionally, for greater clarity, I have translated it with the phrase ‘they say’. The hearsay evidential suffix always co-occurs with the hearsay evidential particle xa which may be preposed to the verb suffixed with -·le or which may occur as a separate word at the beginning of a clause of which the verb suffixed with -·le is the head" (McLendon 1975: 99; formatting adapted).

ša·qá·xdàyawal   xa   šó·llà·yówal             wádu·kè-·le
Quail.Young.lady HSY  eastwards.under.the.sun  went-HSY
‘Quail-Young lady went eastward under the sun (I heard).’ (McLendon 1975: 100)

Eastern Pomo is coded as 1 for this feature.

Further reading

Aikhenvald, Alexandra Y. 2004. Evidentiality. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Chafe, William & Johanna Nichols (eds). 1986. Evidentiality: The linguistic encoding of epistemology. New York: Ablex Publishing.


McLendon, Sally. 1975. A grammar of Eastern Pomo. (University of California Publications in Linguistics, 74.) Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press.

To display the datapoints for a particular language family on the map and on the classification tree, select the family then click "submit".

You may combine this variable with a different variable by selecting on in the list below and clicking "Submit".

Customize map markers:
0 absent 1000
1 present 429
? Not known 757



Name Glottocode Family Macroarea Contributor Value Source Comment