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The semantics of certainty in Quechua and its implications for a cultural epistemology

  • Janis B. Nuckolls (a1)


This article contributes to attempts on the part of Quechua scholars to understand the evidential system of this language family, and thereby paves the way for a more complex understanding of Quechua speakers' language and culture. The author opposes the position that the most general meaning of the -mi suffix is to indicate a direct or first-hand experience; and she holds that specific claims about Quechua speakers' epistemological orientations, based on such an analysis, cannot be supported. Evidence from speakers' use of -mi indicates that it encodes two paradigmatic contrasts: one is status-like or modal, the other evidential. The patterning of -mi, including its use and nonuse in a variety of speech types, suggests that Quechua speakers from the Pastaza region of Ecuador do not share Euro-American concern for facts that transcend aesthetic and emotive significance. (Quechua language and culture, evidentiality, language in context, grammatical categories)



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The semantics of certainty in Quechua and its implications for a cultural epistemology

  • Janis B. Nuckolls (a1)


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