The "-mİş" forms in Turkish are traditionally given as examples of evidentiality:

geliyor (he's coming; implies direct knowledge, generally visual)
geliyormuş (he's coming; implies indirect knowledge, generally acquired from someone else)

The second form can also be the indirect version of geliyordu (he was coming) and may also encode other types of (somehow related) aspectual/modal/evidential information (for example when the speaker has just noticed that "he's coming").

But I've never seen a thorough analysis of "-Dİr" forms like geliyordur. These forms, among other things, may be used to encode that it's a guess made by the speaker. They can be used with (the Turkish equivalents of) "I'm sure that", "I think that", "probably", "maybe" etc.

It does not necessarily encode inferential evidence which can also be done with the indirect form above or periphrastically (geliyor olmalı, "he must be coming"). In fact, it can be used in case of total lack of evidence to express pure guesswork. Does lack of evidence and pure guesswork count as evidentiality? Or is there another term for it?

Note: Here, my analysis of "-Dİr" forms are not very relevant. There are too many complications in their usage. My question is simply: "Can a form that expresses lack of evidence be classified as an evidential?"

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    I don't see why it couldn't be. A given set of evidence can be empty, and stating that evidence is unavailable is a statement about available evidence. In some languages, there are evidentiality markers that indicate that the proposition that the sentence in question refers to is assumed. For more information, see the Wikipedia article on evidentiality. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evidentiality Nov 18, 2013 at 2:55

1 Answer 1


I would certainly count it as a sort of evidentiality since it expresess how the speaker knows what he is communicating, ie. source of evidence. In this case you claim it expresses second hand information as apposed to first hand evidence, so yes.

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