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A corpus-based study of evidentials in the Turkish Cypriot dialect

Using a corpus-based language contact framework, this study explores how evidentiality is expressed in Standard Turkish spoken in Turkey (TT) and the Turkish Cypriot Dialect spoken in North Cyprus (CT). The corpus comprises oral interviews with 80 speakers in North Cyprus and Turkey. We compared the expressions of direct and indirect experience in the oral productions of speakers aged between 18 and 22 (18+ group) with the expressions of speakers who were 50 and older (50+ group). We used two comparable subcorpora of speech produced by TT speakers as the reference model. In contrast to the previous studies on evidentiality in CT (e.g., Aksu-Koc et al., 2009), which were based on observational data, we adopted a corpus-based methodology that allowed for qualitative and quantitative statistical analyses of real speech data. Our findings indicate that TT and CT dialects differ extensively in reporting "hearsay" events. While TT speakers use the morpheme -mls to report hearsay events, CT speakers adopt the morpheme -Dl in the same situations. Our findings suggest that under the influence of Greek, CT has lost its grammatical indicator of indirect evidentiality. The past tense marker -Dl is used to express both the direct and indirect experience of the speakers in CT.