[Lingtyp] Query: extended direct speech

Joshua Birchall jtbirchall at gmail.com
Wed Apr 24 16:28:12 UTC 2019

Dear Denis,

The Chapacuran languages of Brazil and Bolivia frequently use a certain
type of direct speech construction without a speech verb.  Everett (2008)
convincingly argues that in these constructions in Wari', the reported
clause is treated as a zero-derived predicate rather than a subordinate
clause, so I am not sure whether these constructions meet your definitional
criteria. However, the same pattern of indexical shift is present where
participants in the reported clause are inflected from the perspective of
the reported speaker.

Here is an example from the northern variety of Wari' from Birchall (2018:
mayi noro xi-m xari akaka na
intj search 1pl.incl.fut-3f sister.1pl.incl seq.3pl.m 3sg.nfut
'And then they went to look for their sister'
Literally: `And then "let's go! we will look for our sister" they (said)'

These types of constructions are very common in spontaneous speech,
especially when talking about the future plans, intentions or other inner
states of others. In one of the Chapacuran languages, Moré, this
double-inflected speech reporting construction has replaced the original
future construction as the default means to express the future.

All the best,

BIRCHALL, J. Historical change in reported speech constructions in the
Chapacuran family. Journal of Historical Linguistics, v. 8, n. 1, p. 7–30,
EVERETT, D. Wari’ Intentional State Constructions. In: VAN VALIN JR., R.
(Ed.). . Investigations into the Syntax-Semantics-Pragmatics Interface.
Amsterdam: John Benjamins, 2008. p. 381–409.

On Wed, Apr 24, 2019 at 12:24 PM Denis CREISSELS <
denis.creissels at univ-lyon2.fr> wrote:

> 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.
> Best,
> Denis
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