Cfp: Expressions of evidentiality in Uralic languages

Seppo Kittilä sepkit at UTU.FI
Mon May 5 08:07:46 UTC 2014

(apologies for multiple postings, the call can be freely forwarded to anyone potentially interested in the topic)

Symposium: Expressions of evidentiality in Uralic languages

At the XII International Congress for Finno-Ugric Studies at the University of Oulu from August 17 to August 21, 2015 (see:

Language: English, Organized by Evidego (Seppo Kittilä & Lotta Jalava)

Call for papers

Evidentiality as a linguistic notion refers to the source of information speakers have for their statements. The statements can be based on, for example, direct sensory evidence, hearsay, inference, or on shared or private information. All languages can refer to the source of information somehow, but languages differ according to whether evidentiality is an obligatory category or not. In Uralic languages evidentiality is usually not an obligatory category, i.e. many of these languages lack grammaticalized evidentials. However, in Uralic languages lexical elements such as specialized particles (such as 'näköjään' (based on the verb 'see') and kuulemma (based on the verb 'hear') of Finnish) or verbs of sensory perception ('see', 'hear', 'taste' etc,) may be used to indicate the kind of evidence the speaker has for her/his statement.

In some of the Uralic languages indirect evidence may be expressed as part of the modal system of the language, or, as secondary use of other verbal categories such as tense and aspect (e.g. perfects or resultatives), while in others there are also grammatical evidentials for hearsay or non-visual sensory evidence, that is, elements that indicate source of information as their primary function. In recent years, evidentiality has been a popular topic also in research of languages lacking obligatory evidentiality, especially when it comes to (Indo-)European languages. As for Uralic languages, expressions of evidentiality are much less studied.

This theme session aims to explore how source of information is expressed in Uralic languages. It brings together scholars studying evidentiality and related phenomena in different Uralic languages/language groups and in their contact languages. The main focus is on the analysis of evidential strategies/expression in Uralic languages, especially from a typological perspective (or from the viewpoint of what Uralic data can provide for our understanding of evidentiality). We encourage contributors to take any descriptive, theoretical, comparative or historical perspective on the topic.

Specific topics to be discussed include, but are not limited to:

- Description/analysis of evidentiality system/of a particular evidential expression in one or more Uralic languages
- Evidentiality as secondary function of other (verbal) categories, or, evidential expressions in relation to other linguistic categories
- Lexical vs. grammatical evidentiality
- Evidentiality in context: encoding source of information in different genres of text and types of discourse
- Evidentiality and interaction: evidentiality and intersubjectivity; the effect of personal knowledge or involvement
- History/grammaticalization/etymology/change of one or more particular evidential expressions in one or more Uralic languages (and their contact languages)

Please submit an abstract of a maximum of 3000 characters (including references, data, etc.) by September 30, 2014, following the guidelines of The XII International Congress for Finno-Ugric Studies. The abstract must be submitted through EasyChair, see the conference site Notifications of acceptance will be sent by October 31, 2014. The organizers of the symposium Seppo Kittilä (kittila(at) and Lotta Jalava (lotta.jalava(at) are happy to answer any questions regarding the symposium.

More information about the Lingtyp mailing list