[Lingtyp] Lexical semantics of 'know/believe/think'-type verbs

Maia Ponsonnet maia.ponsonnet at uwa.edu.au
Wed Jul 22 09:52:35 UTC 2020

I think Evans & Wilkins (2000) touch upon the issue with respect to the Australian language Dalabon?

Evans, N., & Wilkins, D. (2000). In the mind’s ear: The semantic extensions of perception verbs in Australian languages. Language, 76(3), 546–592.

Cheers and kind regards, Maïa

Dr Maïa Ponsonnet
Senior Lecturer and Chair, Discipline of Linguistics

Social Sciences Building, Room 2.36

Faculty of Arts, Business, Law and Education
The University of Western Australia
35 Stirling Hwy, Perth, WA (6009), Australia
P.  +61 (0) 8 6488 2870 - M.  +61 (0) 468 571 030

From: Lingtyp <lingtyp-bounces at listserv.linguistlist.org> on behalf of Broadwell,George Aaron <broadwell at ufl.edu>
Sent: Wednesday, 22 July 2020 12:01 AM
To: lingtyp at listserv.linguistlist.org <lingtyp at listserv.linguistlist.org>
Subject: [Lingtyp] Lexical semantics of 'know/believe/think'-type verbs

Dear colleagues,

I'm trying to understand the semantics of a handful of verbs in Choctaw that seem to be used rather differently than their closest English translations:

  *   ahnih seems to equate to 'want, notice, find out, think, pay attention to'
  *   yimmih seems to equate to 'believe', but only with nominal objects ('believed Mary' or 'believed in Jesus') but not with clausal objects
  *   ikha̱nah seems to equate to ’know (probably as the result of inquiry’) and often to ’believe’ with a clausal object.
  *   akostininchih is something like ’be certain of’

So far as I can tell, none of these "attitude verbs" seem to match very closely to their English equivalents. (At least, given an English sentence with an attitude verb, I am only partially successful in predicting which verb a Choctaw speaker will use!)

I would appreciate links to discussion of other languages with similar systems or an overall typology of different ways of dividing up this semantic domain.

Aaron Broadwell


George Aaron Broadwell, broadwell at ufl.edu<mailto:broadwell at ufl.edu>  [Pronouns: he/him/his]

Elling Eide Professor | University Term Professor (2018-2021)

Associate Chair,

Dept. of Anthropology, University of Florida

Turlington Hall, Room B364
PO Box 117305 Gainesville, FL 32611


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