Evidentiality is the grammatical encoding of information source on the verb. Mi'gmaq has two markers—-p(n) and -s((p)n). Mi’gmaq has two clear evidential markers—the direct and indirect marker, -p(n) and -s(n), respectively. These mark source of information, whether ﬁrsthand or non-ﬁrsthand. Whenever -p(n) is used a past tense reading applies. The indirect marker is also used in the past tense and also surfaces in future tense environments. The direct and indirect markers have two forms—-p, -pn and -s, -sn, respectively. Morphosyntactic constraints dictate, which form surfaces: the n is dropped word-ﬁnally except in embedded clauses.
The direct marker, -p(n), always conveys a past tense interpretation. This marker is used when the speaker has direct evidence or is certain of the event he or she is uttering.
|↓person / number→||SG||DU||PL|
The following example shows the direct marker in a sentence.
'It was white.'
The indirect Evidential—also referred to in the literature as suppositive—marks information acquired through means other than the ﬁrsthand. This could be a report or hearsay. This is marked by -s(n). A conjugation of the indirect marker for intransitive animate verbs is given below. Often the particle to’q 'apparently' occurs with the indirect marker.
|↓person / number→||SG||DU||PL|
Below is an example of a sentence with to'q. For example, if the speaker sees a dirty shirt that appears to have been white, she can say:
wape'g-'s to'q be.white.VII-INDIR apparently
'It used to be white, apparently.'
Allomorph of the indirect marker
An allomorph of the indirect marker is -s'p(n). This surfaces in all second person singular conjugations as well as occasionally in other conjugations. In second person singular conjugations, it is almost always interpreted as a question. No raise of intonation is needed to signify a question in this context.
'Did you eat?'
'Did you see him?'
Indirect marker in questions
The indirect marker is always used in questions in the past tense. In Mi'gmaq this reflects the lack of information source of the speaker. For persons other than second, the speaker must raise intonation, similar to question intonation in English, to denote a question.
'Did he eat?'
Indirect marker in the future
Inglis (2002) hypothesizes that the indirect evidential, -s(n), surfaces in events in the future, thus reﬂecting the lack of direct source of information—events in the future, information source cannot be known for certain. Example 11 shows how the parsing is under this analysis. This is a combination of the verb eteg 'to be' and the indirect evidential.
atlasm-i-te-s sapo’nug rest-VAI-EXIS-INDIR tomorrow
'I will rest tomorrow.'
Inglis & Johnson (2001) propose the structure below for the future of an animate intransitive verb. They explain that the teg sufﬁx is a “a grammaticalized, reduced form, of the Mi’kmaq II Independent neutral of the verb ‘to be’,” eteg (Inglis & Johnson 2001: 255). The teg becomes te in some instances as in example 11 above.
Reduced verb stem + teg'' + -s/s’p + personal sufﬁxes
- ↑ Little, Carol Rose. 2013. "Evidentiality in Mi'gmaq."
- ↑ Inglis, Stephanie & E. Johnson. 2001. "The Mi’kmaq Future: An Analysis." Papers of the 32nd Algonquian Conference. J.D. Nichols (ed.) Winnipeg: University of Manitoba : 249-257.
- ↑ Loughran, Jenny. 2012. "Tense and Evidentiality in Mi'gmaq." Masters Thesis.
- ↑ Inglis, Stephanie. 2002. "Modality in Mi'kmaq." Doctoral Dissertation.