This article analyzes grammatical forms of Mongolian and Korean which can describe past situations. Mongolian suffixes
Korean and Mongolian have several grammatical forms that can be used to describe past situations. In Korean,
Mongolian has three suffixes (
As shown in the following example (4), the three suffixes can occur with a past time adverbial but not with a present or future time adverbial to describe an on-going present or future situation.
The three suffixes are all past tense markers in that they describe past situations and cannot be used to describe present or future situations.4 The three are, however, different in their evidential meaning. Examples (5–7) show their evidential differences.
Sentences (5–7) describe the same event of [the teacher’s coming here], casting it as a past situation. They are, however, different in the way that the speaker acquired information about the event. Sentence (5) with
2Mongolian examples in this article are taken from Song (1997). Mongolian has another suffix -san which can describe past situations. However, it is not a tense marker but an aspect marker, Perfective, and does not indicate any evidential meaning, for which reason it is not included in this article (cf. Song 1997). 3The Mongolian Cyrillic letters are transliterated as /a b v g d ye yo j z i ĭ k l m n o ö p r s t u ü f x c č š šč ' ī ` e yu ya/, respectively. The following abbreviations are used: Acc (accusative), Aug (augmentative), Cl (classifier), Conn (connective), Dat (dative-locative), Decl (Declarative), Dim (diminutive), Eyewit (eyewitness), Fem (feminine), First (firsthand), Gen (genitive), IK (indirect knowledge), Imm (immediate), Impfv (imperfective), Infr (inference), Intr (intransitive), Loc (locative), Nom (nominative), Nonfirst (non-firsthand), Nonvis (non-visual), Past (past), Pfv (perfective), Pres (present), Refl (reflexive), Rem (remote), Seq (sequence), Sg (singular), SS (same subject marker), Sub (subject) Top (topic), Vert (vertical), Vis (visual). 4It is generally accepted in the literature that the three Mongolian suffixes are past tense markers (cf. Luvsanvandan 1968:75-78, Mishig 1978:119, Binnick 1990, Önörbayan 1994:203, Song 1997:160–210). 5The suffixes -laa and -jee are labeled as ‘Direct Knowledge Past’ and ‘Indirect Knowledge Past’ respectively in Song (1997). Along with other distinctions, the three suffixes were often differentiated in their remoteness in previous studies: Immediate Past -laa, Recent Past -v and Remote Past -jee in Mishig (1978:119): Very Close Past -laa, Simple Past -v and Relatively Close Past -jee in Ozawa (1963:45, 66–69). See Song (1997:160–183) for previous studies about the three suffixes and their problems.
Korean has two suffixes that can describe past situations,
In the literature,
Example (11) describes a present situation and example (12) a future situation. They disprove the possibility that
One may think that the Korean
Unlike the three suffixes in Mongolian, which are past tense markers having evidential connotations, the two suffixes in Korean,
6In this article, the transcription of Korean examples follows the Yale Romanization System. 7Some research analyzes the suffix -ess- as a perfective aspect marker (Nam 1978:12, Suh 1988). Whichever category it belongs to, it does not have any evidential meaning as its basic meaning. 8See Song (1998) for previous studies on -te-. 9Korean also has other evidentials such as present sensory observation -ney, indirect knowledge evidential -keyss- and reported evidential -tay, which will not be discussed in this article. See Song (2007, 2011) for details about them.
Evidentials often interact with the grammatical person of participants. Some evidentials are preferred to other evidentials in the first person context. Languages with grammatical evidentials normally choose a firsthand (direct knowledge) evidential to describe the speaker’s own action or situation (Aikhenvald 2003a: 16). Nambiquara (Macro-Tucanoan: Brazil) has a three-way opposition of evidentials: ‘observation’, ‘deduction’ and ‘narration’. First person forms are not permitted for ‘deduction’ or ‘narration’ (Lowe 1972: 373–4). Tuyuka (Tycanoun: Brazil and Columbia) demonstrates five evidential categories: ‘visual’, ‘nonvisual’, ‘apparent’, ‘secondhand’, and ‘assumed’. First person subject is used with either a visual or a nonvisual evidential but not with an apparent or assumed evidential (Barnes 1984: 261). In Eastern Pomo, which has four evidential forms of non-visual, logical inferential, hearsay/reportative and direct knowledge, the direct knowledge suffix
Mongolian shows similar restrictions. While non-firsthand past
The reason firsthand evidentials are preferred in the first person context seems self-evident. Unless we are unconscious or forgot what we did, we perceive our own activities through firsthand information, not through secondary or hearsay information. It would be counterintuitive for the speaker to present their own activity or situation with non-firsthand evidentials. Therefore, firsthand evidentials are preferably employed to describe first person situations. Song (2007) argues that first person sentences carry such pragmatic presupposition and evidential implication.
Since the first person sentence implies firsthand evidential, employing nonfirsthand evidential for a first person situation would cause a semantic collision, which is the reason non-firsthand evidentials are avoided in first person contexts.
The semantic collision, however, does not always prevent the use of first person with non-firsthand evidential. Some languages allow non-firsthand evidential with first person, adding semantic overtones of lack of control, volition, intention or awareness with first person, the so-called ‘first person effect’ in Aikhenvald (2004: 220).
In Jarawara (a Madi language, southern Amazonia), if the speaker knew what he was doing when he got drunk (he deliberately got drunk), firsthand evidential is appropriate (example 17). If the speaker woke up drunk and didn’t remember what he had done the previous night, non-firsthand evidential is used (example 18) (Dixon 2003: 170, Aikhenvald 2004: 221).
When non-firsthand evidential, inferential, is used in a first person context in Yukaghir (a Yukaghir language: Saha Repbulic), it implies inadvertent actions over which one has hardly any control (Maslova 2003: 229, Aikhenvald 2004:221–222).
Mongolian also shows examples of first person effect. Though Mongolian usually does not allow
Examples (21–23) allow all the three past suffixes with a first person subject. Examples with
In Aikhenvald (2004: 220), ‘first person effect’ is described as follows:
Aikhenvald (2004)’s wording of ‘first person effect’ can be rearranged as follows:
The definition of ‘first person effect’ in Aikhenvald (2004) and its rearranged one in (24) are, however, rather misleading. They seem to give the interpretation that the usage of first person in non-firsthand evidential raises the effect of granting such meanings. We argue that the process of first person effect is different from such assumption. Firsthand evidentials describe situations about which the speaker has firsthand information, whereas non-firsthand evidentials indicate that the information of the speaker is not firsthand. In this section it is argued that first person is not allowed with non-firsthand evidential due to semantic clashes between grammatically marked non-firsthand evidential and the pragmatically implied firsthand evidential meaning of a first person sentence. The situations of ‘first person effect’ are those where such a semantic clash is cleared or weakened because the first person participant is not in an ideal condition where they can have firsthand information about the situations. In other words, when a first person participant is not aware of, lacks control or does not intend what is happening, non-firsthand evidentials are allowed to describe their own situations. In this article, we retain the term ‘first person effect’ rather than trying to replace it with a new one, but the definition of ‘first person effect’ should be changed.
It is a well-known and baffling phenomenon in the literature of Korean linguistics that Korean
On the surface, the subject restrictions of the Korean
Situations in examples (28–30) look similar to those of ‘first person effect’ discussed above. The situation is uncontrolled or non-intentional, or the speaker was not aware of the situation when it was happening. They, however, differ from typical examples of first person effect. If we follow the criteria for first person effect set in (25), non-firsthand evidentials appear in the first person context when the first person participant does not have awareness, control, or intention in relation to the situation. Korean examples (28–30) are different in that they have the firsthand evidential
Table (1) shows how the Korean
Evidential systems across the world vary in how complex they are, and in what meanings they encode (Aikhenvald 2004:23). Evidentials labeled with the same term can encode different scopes of information in individual languages. The information scope encoded in firsthand evidential differs within and across languages. Some languages may have different firsthand evidentials depending on which sensory observation is used to acquire the information. Languages like Tariana (a North Arawak language spoken in the Vaupes) or Oksapmin (a TransNew Guinea language spoken in Papua New Guinea) differentiate visual information and non-visual information, both of which should be treated within firsthand evidential.
In Tariana, visual evidentials are used to express information obtained through seeing (example 31), whereas non-visual evidentials are used to describe things one can hear but not see (example 32) (Aikhenvald 2003b:137–8).
In Oksapmin, if the information was acquired visually, the verb is formally unmarked as in example (33). If the events were perceived through senses other than sight (hearing, tasting, smelling or feeling), they are expressed with a verb stem plus the verb ‘do’ (Aikhenvald 2004:46–47) as shown in example (34).
Firsthand evidentials can also be divided into subgroups according to the temporal point when the relevant information is acquired. Korean has two firsthand evidentials,
In (35) the information was acquired in the past, whereas the temporal point when the information is acquired in (36) is concomitant with the speech moment.
In this article we propose that firsthand evidentials can also be divided into subtypes depending on the referential scope of the observee (the one/thing who/which is observed).10 What is described by firsthand evidential may differ according to what can be the object of the evidential origo’s observation. Typical examples of firsthand evidentials describe what the speaker experienced as an active or passive participant in a situation. The speaker may tell their autobiographical stories or someone else’s events or situations that they observed as a spectator. The speaker may be the performer of the event or just an observer of an event, which was performed by someone else. In this case, the referential scope of the observee includes the evidential origo (the speaker), the hearer and other people or things. This type of evidential does not show subject restriction. The subject can be first, second or third person. The Mongolian firsthand past
There are, however, other kinds of firsthand evidentials whose referential scopes are different. In Kashaya (a Pomo language spoken in northern California), among other firsthand evidentials, they have ‘performative’ suffixes which ‘signify that the speaker knows of what he speaks because he is performing the act himself or has just performed it’ (Oswalt 1986:34–35).
What is special with performative suffixes in Kashaya is that the subject is always the first person. In other words, the performative suffixes cannot be used to describe an event performed by someone else except the speaker.12 When the speaker has firsthand evidence about someone else’s event, Kashaya employs different evidential forms such as factual or visual, which are exemplified in (39-40).
A similar firsthand evidential is reported in Central Pomo, which has a form used to mark ‘personal experience of one’s own actions’ (Mithun 1999:181). Central Pomo has various evidential enclitics, as shown in (41). As in Kashaya, Central Pomo employs different firsthand evidentials depending on who is the performer. When the performer is not the speaker, it uses the firsthand personal experience =
Performative in Kishaya and personal agency in Central Pomo are firsthand evidentials. They, however, differ from the ‘experiencer-oriented evidential’ in that they are exclusively used to describe events performed by the speaker himself. In this type, the referential scope of the observee is confined to the evidential origo of observation, the speaker. We call this type of firsthand evidential ‘performeroriented evidential’.
The three types of firsthand evidentials can be summarized as in Table (2).
In section (4) we discussed subject restriction and first person effect. There we mentioned that firsthand evidentials are preferred in the first person context and when first person occurs with non-firsthand evidentials, it is in the context of lack of awareness, intention or control on the part of the speaker. When we divide firsthand evidentials into three types in table (2), our explanation should change. What has been explained as ‘firsthand evidential’ in the literature is a type of ‘experiencer-oriented evidential’ or ‘performer-oriented evidential’. In these languages, first person situations are usually expressed by firsthand evidentials, and only unawared, inadvertent, or uncontrolled situations of the speaker can be expressed by non-firsthand evidentials.
‘Observer-oriented evidential’ is different from ‘experiencer-oriented evidential’ or ‘performer-oriented evidential’. Observer-oriented evidentials are not used in describing the speaker’s own performance unlike experiencer- or performer-oriented evidentials. As we observed in section (4), the Korean firsthand evidential
Both ‘non-firsthand evidentials’ and ‘observer-oriented firsthand evidentials’ are similar in that they are not allowed to describe first person situations. In similar situations, however, they can occur with first person participants. When the first person participants lack awareness, control or intention of the situation, they are allowed with first person participants. Non-firsthand evidential usage in first person contexts is called ‘first person effect’ in the literature. In this article, we think that ‘observer-oriented firsthand evidential’ usage in first person contexts should be dealt with in the same way. Based on these observations, which were made by dividing firsthand evidential into three subtypes, the definition of ‘first person effect’ can be modified as follows.
The nature of ‘first person effect’ is that evidentials which are inadequate for first person are allowed to occur in first person contexts when the first person participant is not aware of the situation or does not have control of or intention in the situation.
10The ‘evidential origo’ refers to the person from whose perspective a given evidential is evaluated (Garrett 2001:4). 11The forms on the left of the arrow are in an underlying morphophonemic representation and the one on the right is its surface representation (Oswalt 1986:31). 12A reviewer of this article pointed out the possibility that the performative suffix in Kashaya may be a first person marking. According to Oswalt, (1986: 34) the category of person is not developed in the Kashaya verb, but it has a well-developed evidential category. This article follows Oswalt (1986)’s analysis and includes ‘performative’ within the evidential system. 13Comparing Korean, Mongolian and Amdo Tibetan, Song (2007) proposed to divide firsthand evidentials into two subtypes, ‘experience’ and ‘observation’, depending on their information scope. He attached Mongolian to ‘experience’ type and Korean and Amdo Tibetan to ‘observation’ type. Observing the third type, the performative in Kashaya and the personal agency in Central Pomo, this article proposes three subtypes of firsthand evidentials.
In this article we examined grammatical forms of Mongolian and Korean that can be used to describe past situations. The three Mongolian suffixes
To explain such idiosyncrasies of Korean firsthand