[Lingtyp] Query: extended direct speech

Spronck, Stef stef.spronck at helsinki.fi
Wed Apr 24 16:07:10 UTC 2019

Dear Denis,

This is a very interesting case! But how is it different from instances in English, for example, where a non-speech verb is used in a direct speech construction, like 'Then he knew: "today is the day"'?

Tanya Nikitina and I have a discussion paper in a next issue of LT, in which we argue that reported speech (as a cover term for sub-construction types such as direct and indirect speech) carries a specific meaning independent of verba dicendi that may or may not be used with it in a particular language. (Elsewhere I have called this construction a framing construction, following Bill McGregor and Alan Rumsey. I would suggest that the example you cite fits this description: cognition verbs may either pattern with framing constructions or can alternate between a framing construction, or another complex clause construction (e.g. complementation).)

Incidentally, we have just started a typological project in Helsinki looking into constructions that we have labelled 'extended reported speech', with which we mostly mean constructions that that look like reported speech, but that carry a non-speech function (e.g. indirect causation, temporal functions etc). Asking what type of matrix verbs can occur within reported speech constructions in a specific language presents an interesting different take on that same phenomenon.

Best wishes,

Dr Stef Spronck
Postdoctoral researcher at the University of Helsinki (HU Humanities Programme; Indigenous languages)
Research affiliate at CoEDL<http://www.dynamicsoflanguage.edu.au/>, The Australian National University and FunC<https://www.arts.kuleuven.be/ling/func>, University of Leuven
Associate editor at Language under Discussion<http://ludjournal.org/index.php?journal=LUD&page=index> and section editor (Typology/Pragmatics) at Open Linguistics<https://www.degruyter.com/view/j/opli>

From: Lingtyp <lingtyp-bounces at listserv.linguistlist.org> On Behalf Of Denis CREISSELS
Sent: 24 April 2019 18:24
To: lingtyp at listserv.linguistlist.org
Subject: [Lingtyp] Query: extended direct speech

Dear all,

By 'extended direct speech', I mean constructions involving a main verb which is not a verb of saying and a subordinate clause which does not refer to a speech act, but in which first person pronouns or indexes in the subordinate clause behave exactly in the same way as in direct speech, in the sense that they do not refer to the speaker, but to the subject of the matrix clause. This pattern is regularly (although optionally) found in Jóola Fóoñi (aka Diola-Fogny, an Atlantic language of Senegal), in the complementation of 'know' and other cognitive verbs.

For example, in Jóola Fooñi, 'The childi knows that hisi mother worked hard for himi' is commonly expressed as literally 'The child knows that my mother worked hard for me'. The obvious explanation is that such a sentence can be paraphrased as 'The child knows (something he could express by saying:) my mother worked hard for me'. One must therefore consider the possibility that, cross-linguistically, similar sentences occur more or less sporadically in spontaneous speech with a special intonation, as a 'figure of speech' of the type termed 'anacoluthon' in classical rhetoric. What is special in the case of Jóola Fóoñi is that such a formulation is stylistically neutral, does not necessitate a special intonation, and is not deemed deviant by speakers.

I would be interested to know whether a similar routinization of 'extended direct speech' has been observed in other languages.


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