Evidentiality is a text category and expresses the attitude of the speaker to the context. It shows whether the information is directly perceived or contains ideally reliable information (is non-evidential), or it has been received from other source (is evidential). The sources of evidentiality are: verbality and inference (Margiani, 2012).
It should be noted, that the evidential modality (meaning of unseen action) is characteristic for all Kartvelian languages (Georgian, Svan, Megrelian, laz). Though, scholars argue about its origin. The investigation of the old Georgian language data is very important to approve the originality of the evidentiality in Kartvelian languages. The paper deals with the morphological opportunity for expressing the evidentiality - perfect verb forms (evidential perfect I and evidential perfect II). We investigated old Georgian original Hagiografical texts of V-X centuries.
It is known, that the main function of perfect tenses were expressing the result in the old Georgian. Scholars argue about the existence of evidential tenses in the old Georgian. Some scholars (Chikobava, 1962; Kavtaradze, 1956; Pkhakadze, 1984; Boeder 2000) think that the unseen action is the latest function of perfect tenses and did not exist in old Georgian. To others opinion (Shanidze, 1930; Arabuli, 1984; Beridze, 2009; Topadze, 2011; Sarjveladze, Ninua, 1985) perfect tenses had the function of expressing unseen action in the old Georgian language.
Empirical data shows, that the verb forms in perfect tenses had the meaning of evidentiality in the old Georgian. For instance:
Evidential perfect I:
(1)„...დაგიტევებიეს მამული შჯული და ქრისტიანეთა თანა შეცთომილ ხარ? “
‘dagiṭevebies mamuli šjuli da kristianeta tana šectomil xar?’
‘As it turned out, you have left your religion and have been mistaken together with Christians?’
(‘The Martyrdom of Abo Tbileli’, Old Georgian Hagiographic Literature, 1963, 64).
(2)„...ვითარ განძლიერებულ ხარ უძლურებისაგან, მოძღუარო!“
‘...vitar ganӡlierebul xar uӡlurebisagan moӡγvaro!’
‘As it turned out, you have become so strong from the feebleness, priest! ’
(‘The Life of Gregory of Khandzta’, ibid, 286).
Evidential perfect II:
(3)„...და რამეთუ მოეძღუანა წმიდასა მას ეპისკოპოსსა საზრდელი…“
‘...da rametu moeӡγuana midasa mas eiskopossa sazrdeli...’
‘As it turned out, the Bishop had provided food for her…’
(‘The Martyrdom of Shushanik’, ibid, 23).
(4)„...ვიდრე მოსლვადმდე გრიგოლ მწყემსისა.... ცხოვარნი ქრისტჱსნი განბნეულ იყვნეს...“
‘...vidre moslvadmde grigol memsisa... cxovarni kristeysni ganbneul ivnes ...’
‘As it turned out, the flock of The Jesus had been scattered… before shepherd Gregory came’.
(‘The Life of Gregory of Khandzta’, ibid, 264).
The examples show, that evidential forms can be used with organic and descriptive production and are in declarative, interrogative and exclamatory sentences.
Thus, the discussion of the matter from the diachronic viewpoint proves that the verb forms of perfect tenses began to express the evidentiality in the old Georgian language, as the latest function of these tenses and activated from the next centuries. Based on the old Georgian language data, we can say, that the evidentiality is a Georgian phenomenon.