Reported speech workshop restarting in January 2023

After several conversations with workshop participants and presenters we have decided to restart the online workshop at the beginning of 2023. These new sessions will be reading group-style meetings where we will discuss chapter contributions to our Language Science Press volume on reported speech, alternating with a few new data sessions.

All contributors to the volume will receive individual updates and reviews of their chapters before the end of the year. We look forward to talking further in 2023!

Recent conference talks

In early August, Stef presented a talk, together with Tatiana Nikitina at the Twenty-Fifth International Conference on Historical Linguistics entited ‘Untold grammar: Paradigm formation with extended reported speech’.

At the 55th Annual Meeting of the European Linguistic Society (SLE) at the end of August Stef organised a workshop on Language in narrative and song, together with Izabela Jordanoska. The workshop featured talks by Stef and Daniela (‘Narrative distributions of extended reported speech’) and by Denys Teptiuk and Stef (‘Interior dialogues: Narrative reported speech and thought in two indigenous languages’).

Project update

The first half of 2022 has been a relatively quiet period for our project, with project members either taking time off for family circumstances (Stef) or focusing on thesis completion (Daniela).

However, we will return with several conference presentations and events in the autumn and complete the two editing projects that are part of our project: a volume on reported thought (co-edited with Silvio Cruschina and Pekka Posio) for Mouton De Gruyter and a volume on reported speech for Language Science Press.

If you have been taking part in our online workshop or are contributing to our project’s edited volumes, you will receive further announcements in early autumn!

Related event: Decolonising the anthropocene

Stef will take part in the following panel at the University of Helsinki’s Tiedekulma (Think Corner) next month. It is shaping up to be an exciting event, please help spread the word! (The announcement below was written in collaboration with Pirjo Kristiina Virtanen.)

De­col­on­ising the An­thro­po­cene: Indigenous and language-ori­en­ted perspect­ives

Thursday April 28th at 13–15 

Think Corner, Stage (Yliopistonkatu 4) 

The term, the ‘Anthropocene’ roughly denotes the most recent 12,000 years of history in which humans have significantly impacted our planet’s climate and ecosystems. Various starting dates for the Anthropocene have been put forward, ranging from the beginning of the agricultural revolution to the first atomic blast in 1945. Although the term has not yet been formally adopted by the International Union of Geological Sciences, it has gained traction in environmental policy circles.

Indigenous scholars, among others, have questioned the universality of the term “Anthropocene”, considering that its framing is largely Western-biased and anthropocentric. Critics have argued that the term dangerously misrepresents all human actions as being inherently destructive, and that it fails to recognize the long-term positive interactions between Indigenous Peoples and their environments. This event aims to re-conceptualise the Anthropocene by discussing Indigenous views of human-environment interactions, and how such connections have shaped –and continue to shape–our planet’s climate and ecosystems. 

The event draws on long term co-research of Indigenous languages, knowledge, and practices. It uncovers the diversity of narratives about humans’ roles in the natural world, and the myriad ways in which human–nonhuman interactions are conceptualised and evidenced in Indigenous languages. In the first year of UNESCO’s Decade of Indigenous Languages (2022–2032), this event also brings together Indigenous Studies scholars addressing the deeply intertwined relations between biological and linguistic diversity.  

The speakers include: 

Pirjo Kristiina Virtanen, associate professor of Indigenous Studies. She has worked extensively with Amazonian Indigenous societies, namely Arawakan-speaking Apurinã and Manchineri, addressing Amazonian human-environment complexes, deep past, and Apurinã language revitalization. 

Stef Spronck, postdoctoral researcher in General Linguistics. He has worked with several Aboriginal communities in north-western Australia, primarily recording language under the instruction of Ngarinyin elders with the aim of understanding aboriginal ways of talking about speech and thought and contributing to local language teaching.

Outi Laiti, postdoctoral researcher in Indigenous Studies of University of Helsinki. Her field of research is education and computer science with focus on Sámi culture in video games and programming.

Victoria Soyan Peemot, postdoctoral researcher in Indigenous Studies of University of Helsinki. Her research addresses language and bonds of horses and herders in the Sayan-Altai Mountain Region of Inner Asia.

Álvaro Fernandez-Llamazares, HELSUS postdoctoral researcher. His research areas are ethnoecology and biocultural diversity, largely focusing on the study of the knwledge systems of the Tsimane’ people in Bolivia, and the Daasanach community in Kenya.

Aung Si, postdoctoral fellow at the Institute for Linguistics of the University of Cologne. He is a Myanmar citizen, who grew up in India. He completed Doctorates in Biology and Linguistics at the Australian National University, and currently carries out research on the biological knowledge of small language communities. 

Coffee and snacks are served after the event. 

Buresboahtin! W E L C O M E ! 

Welcome to the Think Corner or watch online 

Facebook event

Organised by the projects: Anthropocene in onto-ethico-lingistic perspective in Amazonia and Language endangerment and wellbeing: Questions for a sustainable linguistics.

Call for papers: Cross-disciplinary Perspectives on Quoting and Speech Reporting (October 2022, Brussels)

We would like to draw your attention to the following call for papers for a conference on Crossdisciplinary Perspectives on Quoting and Speech Reporting to be held in Brussels later this year. The conference includes a workshop on speech reporting in African languages and the event is organised by collaborators and participants of the online workshop series within our Helsinki-based project. It promises to be an exciting occasion!

Because of the overlap in theme we have decided to cancel our planned Summer workshop in Finland and would like to encourage anyone to submit your abstract to the Brussels conference by the 31st of March instead.

The full call for papers, including details on how to submit can be found here:

Workshop update and new publication

A new academic year has started and for 2021-2022 our project has multiple activities and publications in the pipeline, including two edited volumes and several research papers. The first of these, titled ‘In a Manner of Speaking: How Reported Speech May Have Shaped Grammar‘ was recently published in Frontiers in Communication ( Any comments or other feedback will be much appreciated!

We are hoping to be able to organise an in-person workshop on reported speech in May/June 2022. Currently, however, the project is a sponsor and co-organiser of the workshop Emerging Topics in Typology, which will take place online 25 October – 25 November 2021. It should be an engaging series of meetings showcasing the breadth of contemporary linguistic typology and includes presentations, discussion sessions and other activities. Please come and join us for the conference!

Reading group sessions and ‘writing clinic’ (sessions 14, 15 and 16)

April and May saw our workshop moving into slightly new territory again with two ‘reading group’ sessions and a ‘writing clinic’ in connection with an edited volume on reported speech, many workshop participants are contributing to.

On 22 April we discussed a forthcoming paper by Tatiana Nikitina, Ekatarina Aplonova and Leonardo Contreras Roa on interjections in reported speech, which addressed many recurrent topics in the workshop but also explored some exciting implications for the analysis of the grammar of discourse more widely.

6 May we met to discuss any queries that have arisen in the preparation of our chapters for an edited volume on reported speech that is planned to appear with Language Science Press in 2022.

On 20 May Sonja Gipper gave an interesting preview of her data session on Yurakaré. A longer session on Yurakaré will be scheduled after our summer break but Sonja raised a very interesting question about how to interpret verbs occurring in clauses introducing reported speech constructions as opposed to those occurring in Matrix clauses. During this session we also discussed a paper coming out of our Helsinki project on extended reported speech: expressions that are/diachronically derive from reported speech constructions but that do not clearly reflect a meaning of speech.

On 3 June we will have our final two data sessions this academic year. Bethany Lycan will discuss the Californian language Pahka’anil and Mostafa Morady Moghaddam will talk about indirect speech in Persian.

Please join us for our last session of the workshop series in 2020-2021!

– Stef

Thirteenth session: Macedonian and Chácobo

In the thirteenth session we embarked on a virtual journey through the grammatical structures of Macedonian, a south Slavic language spoken in Europe with Izabela, and Chácobo, a Panoan language spoken in Bolivia with Adam.

Speech reports in Macedonian are marked most frequently by two verbs that both translate as ‘say’ in English. As Izabela showed in her presentation, one of the verbs is on the path of grammaticalization into a quotative marker, depending on the dialectal variation of Macedonian and the register speakers use. Furthermore, Izabela presented cases from her data, where a discourse report is embedded in a discourse reported event.

Speech reports in Chácobo, are usually marked by verbs of speech where ‘say’ occurs most frequently, or the cognitive verb that is equivalent to ‘think’ in English. The language also has a reportative evidential marker that is obligatory, but not integrated into the inflectional system. Adam points out that the reportative evidential is rarely left out. The majority of cases where it is left out is when a Chácobo speaker is telling a joke.

Both presentations have shown that some of the frequent strategies of speech reporting in the respective languages are on the path of grammaticalization into quotative markers.

– Daniela