Back to listing

ANU-CoEDL ZOOM Seminar: Evidentiality and Engagement in Kua’nsi, Huade Huang, 22 May

Date: 12 May 2020

Seminar: Evidentiality and Engagement in Kua’nsi

Speaker: Huade Huang

When: 22 May 2020, 3pm

Where: via zoom (please email for zoom link invitation)


Kua'nsi is a Central Ngwi language (Tibeto-Burman subgroup of Sino-Tibetan), spoken in Southwestern China. Similar to other Tibeto-Burman languages, Kua'nsi has complex grammatical categories expressing the epistemic state of speakers. This talk will discuss two categories, evidentiality and engagement.

Evidentiality encodes information source, and there are four types of evidentials in Kua’nsi: direct, inference, report and uncertain memory. Engagement encodes the accessibility of speaker and addressee towards an entity or a state of affair (Evans, Bergqvest, San Roque, 2018a & 2018b), and there are two types of engagement in Kua’nsi: speaker symmetric and speaker asymmetric. Evidentiality and engagement, as two distinct grammatical categories, are connected in Kua’nsi. The direct evidential also encodes that this direct access to information is exclusive to the speakers and not shared by the addressees, namely the asymmetric engagement. 

In some clauses, two engagement markers can co-occur, which allows the expression of more than two types of engagement to be encoded. By differentiating three levels of engagement, it is found that two types of engagement in Kua'nsi are on two different levels. This explains the co-occurrence of two engagement markers.

In summary, this paper investigates the use and function of the markers of evidentiality and engagement in Kua'nsi and their interactions on different levels of grammar. It also emphasises the important role of interactional discourse in the description of these markers that are related to interlocutors’ epistemic states. 

  • Australian Government
  • The University of Queensland
  • Australian National University
  • The University of Melbourne
  • Western Sydney University