Evidentiality in Basque: Comparison to neighbouring languages

Seminar on Language and Communication

Tuesday, April 15, 11:00

Larraitz Zubeldia (ILCLI)

Venue: Carlos Santamaria Centre, Room 4


All languages have devices (verbs, adverbs, enclitic elements, phases...) to indicate the speaker's source of knowledge. Basque language mainly differs from its neighbouring languages in having particles that encode the evidential meaning or the speaker's source of information: omen ‘it is said', its counterpart ei, and bide ‘apparently', ‘probably'. This proposal aims to provide a contrastive analysis focusing on the particles omen and bide, by comparing them to their equivalents in Spanish and French, and English. If one considers the ‘standard' view on these particles, one will notice that some grammarians and lexicographers take both as synonym. In this presentation it will be argued, considering different examples from the corpora, that this is not the case. They differ in their meaning: the speaker, by means of an omen-utterance expresses that she is reporting what someone else said, whereas by means of a bide-utterance she expresses what she has inferred. Omen is a reportative evidential, while bide an inferential evidential. In addition, it will be contended that both kinds of utterances are distinguished in the level of certainty they implicate.

(Attendance is free, but if you are willing to attend, please send and email to with your name and affiliation).