[Lingtyp] Query: extended direct speech

Bernhard Wälchli bernhard at ling.su.se
Mon Apr 29 18:55:48 UTC 2019

Dear Denis,

It seems to me that nobody on the list (in whatever thread) has pointed out yet the languages of New Guinea as highly relevant for this topic, in particular (some?) languages of the Trans New Guinea phylum. Davies (1981: 4) calls the phenomenon “pseudo quotation” in his Kobon grammar. Here I would like to mention just two examples from Nalca (Mek) to give some hints at the extent.

1. Prospective

This example illustrates that pseudo quotation can be a necessary part of a grammaticalized construction.

Nalca has a prospective “to be about to” expressed with PSEUDO-QUOTATION+‘be’

[hadya' mandeb-na' nauba a-dya penya mek ekla bu-na' dara,]
[fish be.crowded-VN many DP-ERG/GEN two water seat sit-VN TOP]
mek lomok sonom he-nom-a' ab-oka u-lu-rek.
water inside wet/sinking say(PFV)-FUT.1DU-NMLZ say(IPFV)-CVB be-IPFV-PST.3DU
‘the two boats full of fish were about/began to sink.’ (New Testament, 42005007)
“the two boats were, saying that “we two will say: 'wet' ”

The converb ab-oka [say-CVB] with pseudo quotation is also the general strategy to express purposive clauses, among other things.

That this is not just direct quotation anymore (despite person marking) can be seen from the fact that the perfective future in Nalca (unlike Eipo, where it has the function of immediate future tense; Heeschen 1998: 254) is restricted to specific modal and subordinate uses (among other things, hortative in 1st and 3rd person, there is no 2nd person, Rule & Rule 1972: 46), notably the pseudo quotation use is dominant.

2. “to hate”

This example illustrates that there are implications for lexical typology, not only for grammar.

In Nalca ‘to hate’ can be expressed by the complex expression lek sene- [not_want/dislike think-]. This is used in the N.T. very much as a complex predicate where lek looks like a particle and sene- like a light verb. However, in the closely related language Una it can be seen that this has developed from a pseudo quotation:

<Nun/Ni li,> tene-n
we/I not_want think-VN
‘hating’, literally: “thinking <we/I not_want>”
(Una tene- = Nalca sene- ‘think’; Una li = Nalca lek ‘dislike’)

See also the discussion in Heeschen’s (1998: 333) Eipo grammar (another Mek language, the best documented one).

I have no idea about what the effect is for intonation, field workers on languages of New Guinea will probably be able to provide answers. However, style is certainly an issue. Dick Kroneman (p.c., 2013) points out to me that “embedded speech quotes and thought quotes” are characteristic of oral style (in a similar way as tail-head linkage) and that there are differences in style. For instance, the Una New Testament is more oral in style (with pseudo quotation excessively marked also with punctuation) than the Nalca one. Davies (1981: 4) notes that pseudo quotation is a “stylistic device especially in narrative”.

Heeschen, Volker. 1998. An ethnographic grammar of the Eipo language spoken in the central mountains of Irian Jaya (West New Guinea), Indonesia. Berlin: Reimer (Mensch, Kultur und Umwelt im zentralen Bergland von West-Neuguinea 23.)


-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <http://listserv.linguistlist.org/pipermail/lingtyp/attachments/20190429/2981dcf0/attachment.htm>

More information about the Lingtyp mailing list