How Do I Know What I Know?

A recent article in the Economist discussing which is the "best" language stays on my mind.  The author's observation that "Tariana, from Brazil, has "evidentiality": speakers choose one of five verb-endings to show how they know what they aver to be true" makes me wonder if this might be a most useful linguistic characteristic in an era of truthiness.

A bit more (and only a bit more) research reveals that: "[i]n Tariana, an Arawak language spoken in the multilingual area of the Vaupe´s in northwest Amazonia,speakers have to specify whether they saw the event happen, or heard it, or know about it because somebody else told them, etc."

Yes, this would be most useful.

 

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