Patterns of evidentials use in dream narratives

Keywords: evidentiality, evidentials, stance, dream reports, narrative


The article presents a study on evidentials use in dream reports collected from online dream journals. First, I discuss the relation between the categories of stance and evidentiality. Specifically, I define evidentiality for the needs of this research as a semantic category that labels the source of information in the English language. Evidentiality encompasses perception, reportative evidentiality, and inferential judgment. The role of evidentials in rendering the dream experience is considerable due to the quasi-perceptual and specific experientiality of dreaming. Therefore, the core categories of evidentiality were singled out for this study, such as revelative, sensory and sensory-inferential, reportative, non-sensory inferential and mirative (marking unexpected information). The sample was then manually processed to count the relative frequencies of the means rendering these subcategories of evidentiality. The main findings reside in the role of revelative evidentials in marking the status of dream vs. real narrative spaces. Additionally, the classic assumption about the visuality of dreams was confirmed by the high number of visual perceptual evidentials, while audial and other perceptual mode instances are much fewer in the sample. Finally, the choice of evidential subcategories in dream reports is conditioned by the narrators’ need to account for vague recollection of dreaming experience with the preference for simpler inferential forms. In turn, the category of mirativity (i.e. labeling of unexpected information) is discussed as a prospective research avenue due to its rich potential in subtle yet informative marking of the speaker’s reaction to the information communicated or to the channel of obtaining it.


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How to Cite
Nikolaienko, V. (2023). Patterns of evidentials use in dream narratives. Cognition, Communication, Discourse, (26), 109-122.