ELTE BTK Magyar Nyelvtudományi és Finnugor Intézet

Metslang, Helle – Pajusalu, Karl (Tartu)

nyomtatható változat

Evidentiality in Livonian

Evidentiality is a grammatical category that expresses the source of information. In languages of the Circum-Baltic area the category appears mainly as the reported evidential, which means that special grammatical means are used to show that the information originates from another person. In Livonian language evidentiality is a complex morphosyntactic category, which surfaces in two moods – the reported indicative and the reported imperative. The Livonian evidentials are typologically close to the respective Estonian and Latvian forms; however, they also have some special features (cf. Aikhenvald 2004, Erelt et al. 2006, Kehayov 2008, Krautmane 2006). In both main varieties of Livonian – Salaca and Courland Livonian – the present forms of the reported indicative are marked by the (j)i-suffix, which corresponds to the agent noun suffix, and the respective past forms are expressed by the (j)i-suffixed auxiliary and a past participle or by a lone past participle. The use of the quotative is more regular in Livonian language materials than in Estonian.

The reported indicative (quotative) includes the present and the past tense. The quotative can occur either in a subordinate clause or an independent or main clause (see examples 1–3). Such a complementary clause, which includes a quotative form, often extends a main clause where the indirect source of information is additionally indicated by a verb of speaking, hearing, etc. (1). In an independent or a main clause this information is provided by the quotative form alone (2, 3).

(1)     ma um kūlõn, se kuolka nanā voļļi siedā vītõ suggõn…(NLK, p. 382)
    ‘I’ve heard the Kuolka cape had arisen like that …’

(2)    ta kītõn mis sa minnõn maksād… (NLK, p. 156)
    ‘s/he was reported to say what you pay me…’

(3)    Mis nänt ţum tüönikad säl patēji? (SjW, p. 324) 
    ‘What are those ten workers said to do there?’

Livonian forms of the reported imperative include the imperative particle las and the imperative forms that have originally belonged to the 3rd person. The reported imperative is used to indicate that the source of the command or the obligation is not the speaker but somebody else (see example 4).
(4)    sis las ütlug mē … (SjW, p. 325)
    ‘(Someone suggests that) then we should say’

Similarly to Estonian, Livonian makes no distinction between the personal forms in the affirmative forms of the reported moods, but Courland Livonian makes a distinction between the singular and the plural forms of the reported indicative both in the present and the past tenses. The present paper focuses on the use of various types of Livonian evidential forms by analysing their structure and functions in texts.

Aikhenvald, Alexandra Y. 2004: Evidentiality. Oxford University Press.
Erelt, Mati; Helle Metslang, Karl Pajusalu 2006: Tense and Evidentiality in Estonian.
    – Topics in subjectification and modalization. Belgian Journal of Linguistics
    20, p. 125–136.
Kehayov, Petar 2008: An Areal-Typological Perspective to Evidentiality: the Cases of
    the Balkan and Baltic Linguistic Areas. Tartu: Tartu University Press.
Krautmane, Ērika 2006: The Evidential in the Latvian, Estonian and Livonian
    Languages. An Introduction to the Topic. – Scientific Papers, University of
    Latvia, Vol. 708, Linguistics, Finno-Ugristics, p. 66­–72.  
NLK = Näytteitä liivin kielestä. Kerännyt E. N. Setälä, suomentanut ja julkaissut
    Väinö Kyrölä. Suomalais-Ugrilaisen Seuran Toimituksia 106. Helsinki 1953.
SjW = Sjögren, J. A. 1849: Livische Grammatik nebst Sprachproben. Im Auftrag der
    Kaiserlichen Akademie der Wissenschaften bearbeitet und mit einer
    historisch-ethnographischen Einleitung versehen von Ferdinand Joh.
    Wiedemann, St. Petersburg.

The actual language of the intended paper is English.