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Child production of Quechua evidential morphemes in conversations and story retellings
Journal of Child Language (2008)
  • Ellen H Courtney

Languages such as Turkish, Korean, and Japanese exhibit evidential morphemes encoding information source as direct or indirect evidence. Investigations of child acquisition of evidential systems (notably, Aksu-Koc, 1988; Choi, 1995; Matsui, Yamamoto & McCagg, 2006) reveal that development of evidential meaning is a protracted process, relying on children’s incremental understanding of mental states.

This study examines child production of five Quechua suffixes, including three evidential enclitics (direct evidence, hearsay, report), and two verb inflections that differentiate perceived and unperceived events in past time. For this purpose, the research team recorded 15 conversations between mothers and their children, aged 2;3-8;0, as well as story retellings produced by 13 children aged 2;6-5;7. All participants were from rural communities outlying Cuzco, Peru. It was observed that children begin producing some suffixes at age two, but it is not until the age of four that children produce all the morphemes as true evidential markers.

  • Quechua,
  • child language,
  • evidentiality
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This is a preprint of an article submitted for consideration in the Journal of Child Language © 2008 [copyright Cambridge]; the Journal of Child Language is available online at
Citation Information
Ellen H Courtney. "Child production of Quechua evidential morphemes in conversations and story retellings" Journal of Child Language (2008)
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