[Lingtyp] Quotations of speech vs. quotations of thoughts

David Gil gil at shh.mpg.de
Sat Jan 6 15:38:56 UTC 2018


Some dialectal facts from Indonesian provide support for your proposed 
generalization to the effect that an original speech verb is used to 
mark mental processes but not vice versa.

In the West Sumatran variety of colloquial Indonesian, the following 

(1) Kata aku X
     say 1SG X

can mean either "I said X" or "I thought X".  However, in other dialects 
of Indonesian, e.g. Riau, Jakarta, it can only mean "I said X", not "I 
thought X" (while in yet other dialects the construction is completely 
absent).  And the clinching evidence for the "say" meaning of "kata" 
being prior to its "think" meaning comes from its etymology, from 
Sanskrit "katha" — "conversation", "speech", "story" (as cited in Uri 
Tadmor's chapter on Indonesian in the Loan Word Typology database).

Best wishes,


On 06/01/2018 23:52, Denys T. wrote:
> Dear colleagues (especially those working with quotative markers and 
> reported speech),
> in Erzya (Mordvinic, Uralic), the verb /meŕems /with the primary 
> meaning ‘say’ is also used to quote thoughts:
> (1) /Mon me//ŕiń, ton Saransat./
> 1sg say.pst.1sg 2sg Saransk.ine.prs.2sg
> ‘I thought (lit. I said), you are in Saransk’ (Aasmäe 2012: 66).
> However, out of context, the QI-clause /Mon me//ŕiń /would likely be 
> interpreted as ‘I said’ and instead of quotation of thoughts one will 
> get the quotation of speech. It is, of course, not a unique thing that 
> one quotative index (clause) can be used to mark different types of 
> reported discourse. I am wondering whether there is cross-linguistic 
> evidence, pointing that the reading ‘I/you/X said’ is prior to the 
> reading ‘I/you/X thought’ in such cases? For instance, notorious /I 
> was like /to be interpreted out of context as 'I said' rather than 'I 
> thought'? Or that speech verbs are frequently used to mark mental 
> processes, but not /vice versa/? Is there any hierarchy in the reading 
> of quotations? Are there any studies that would show that one would be 
> prior to another? Is it even reasonable to expect to find something 
> like this? Any suggestions, hints, (language-specific) examples are 
> more than welcome!
> Cheers!
> Have a nice evening!
> Best wishes from Tartu,
> Denys Teptiuk
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David Gil

Department of Linguistic and Cultural Evolution
Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History
Kahlaische Strasse 10, 07745 Jena, Germany

Email: gil at shh.mpg.de
Office Phone (Germany): +49-3641686834
Mobile Phone (Indonesia): +62-81281162816

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