Fouth session – Wan and Ut-Maꞌin

Our fourth meeting in the workshop series brought another very rich couple of data sessions, thanks to Tatiana Nikitina and Rebecca Paterson.

Tatiana Nikitina discussed the Mande language Wan, which sparkles with interesting reported speech phenomena, including logophoricity, a very clear distinction between quotative verbs and other speech verbs, and fully developed extended meanings of reported speech constructions that have no apparent connection anymore with attributing utterances.

Rebecca Paterson’s data session particularly focused on extended meanings of reported speech in U̱t-Maꞌin and raised questions about how to classify these; particularly, how to incorporate newly attested functions of extended reported speech in existing grammaticalisation hierarchies.

Please join us for our next session on the 26th!

Third session – Ben Tey and Upper Napo Kichwa

Abbie Hantgan and Karolina Grzech brought us a very rich and engaging third session in our workshop series.

Abbie Hantgan’s data session on Ben Tey raised fundamental questions about the illocutionary status of reported speech clauses since the language contains a dedicated quoted imperative. A second feature of the language that makes it particularly relevant for the study of reported speech is the presence of a form that Abbie analyses as a ‘quotative topic’. Both of these categories broaden the range of structures that seem dedicated to reported speech contexts and help further contextualise them.

The data session by Karolina Grzech demonstrated the importance of contrastive evidence in the study of evidentiality and reported speech: while some morphological aspects of quotative/reportative evidentials in neighbouring languages seem quite similar to structures in Upper Napo Kichwa, the interpretation of these structures in Upper Napo Kichwa appears to be rather idiosyncratic. In the context of reported speech, markers that signal epistemic authority elsewhere can be used to express mistaken belief, among other meanings. The data also further appeared to demonstrate a link between the marking of switch reference and extended interpretations of reported speech.

Many thanks again to everyone who participated and, above all, to the presenters. We are looking forward to seeing you again at the next session on the 12th of November!

Second session – Khalkha Mongolian

We thank everyone for participating in the second session of our reported speech workshop, and especially Benjamin Brosig and Dolgor Guntsetseg (in collaboration with Elena Skribnik) for engaging presentations about Khalkha Mongolian!

We saw very detailed accounts of no less than nine different strategies to express reported speech in the language and learned about meaning extensions in Khalkha Mongolian, which showed an impressive semantic range.

Prominent questions that came up related to glossing conventions, the description of semi-grammaticalised interpretations of reported speech and the status of indirect speech in non-European languages. Issues to further explore in the months to come!

A short report about the first online data session (Introduction / Bashkir)

We would like to thank everyone for their active participation during the first session of the online workshop series!

A short summary: we began with a brief discussion of the typological questionnaire devised for the project.

The introduction was followed by the first full data session presented by Ekatarina Aplonova on Bashkir, which led to a lively discussion about a range of topics that will -no doubt- be addressed further during upcoming meetings.

A non-exhaustive list of these topics:

  •  The relation between introductory clauses and the report in constructions of the type: `David walked into the room, shouting. “Why did you step on my Magnolia?” he screamed’. In language such as Bashkir such introductory clauses seem common, and can even syntactically seem to form part of the same sentence as the following quote. What is the appropriate matrix element in such cases?
  • In languages like Bashkir, semi-grammaticalised forms of SAY can be used to express functions covered by independent lexical (e.g. `think’) or gramatical elements (e.g. complementiser) in other languages. What is the semic status of SAY in such languages?
  • What counts as embedding in reported speech?

With respect to the questionnaire, one question raised in the discussion was how to treat verbs of motion when occurring with reported speech. Given the design of the questionnaire such verbs only come up if the researcher explicitly cites such example as a type of reported speech clause first. Further engagement with the questionnaire will show if we need to adjust this.

We are looking forward to the next session on the 15th!

Online data sessions

Due to the coronavirus pandemic the reported speech workshop planned for March 2020 unfortunately had to be cancelled. But thanks to the contributions of many workshop participants we will have a great alternative in the form of online data sessions between October and December. Please find the programme here.

If you are interested in participating, please contact us!

Workshop update

Our reported speech workshop in Helsinki is gradually drawing closer and we’d like to share some preliminary information about the programme.

The venue for (most of) the workshop will be the Helsinki Collegium for Advanced studies at the university’s city centre campus, which offers both great facilities for presentations and an excellent environment for discussion.

Because, apart from sharing data, a primary aim of the workshop is to share ideas we have sketched a programme that leaves plenty of room for questions, conversation and debate: apart from those of you who have requested an hour for your presentation/data session we have slotted 45 minutes for everyone. You are entirely free to decide how to fill this time: you may choose to prepare a rather traditional conference presentation, run over a few fragments from a transcript/ELAN file or even just show a particularly tricky example and open the floor for discussion. We would like to minimize movement between talks, which means that we should be able to treat the schedule with some flexibility. If we run out of conversation topics before the 45 minutes are up, we’ll have an early coffee. But we hope that this set up will allow us to really explore the phenomenon of reported speech in as much detail and from as many angles as possible.

Please find the preliminary programme here: https://blogs.helsinki.fi/speech-representation/workshop2020/programme/ . If you spot any errors in your information listed (name, affiliation, subject language) thank you in advance for letting us know. Please also contact us if you would like to change your proposed slot (either to a different day in the programme or to a different length).

For catering purposes we would also like to ask you to register here by the 11th of March: https://elomake.helsinki.fi/lomakkeet/103517/lomake.html (if you fill in a title for your talk on the form we will update this on the programme, but you are welcome to leave this field empty).

We have been drafting a questionnaire that could guide some of the discussion of the data. It is still evolving but we will share the first version with you next week. By then we also hope to have finalised the programme.

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact us anytime. We hope you have managed to book accommodation by now as well, but if not, also feel free to contact us for suggestions.

We look forward to welcoming you in Helsinki next month!

Workshop on reported speech in Helsinki: call for papers

Reported speech is a grammatical phenomenon that allows a speaker to represent an utterance and attribute it to another speaker, or to herself at an earlier moment in time. Reported speech is discussed widely in the typological literature (Buchstaller & Alphen 2012; Güldemann & Roncador 2002; Janssen & Wurff 1996; Spronck & Nikitina 2019 inter alia). Most commonly, it takes a form as in (1), with a clausal element signalling a speech event and a reported speaker, followed by a clausal element representing an attributed locution, or as in (2), with these same elements in reverse order.

(1) Peter says: “The weather is nice.”

(2) Solega (India; Dravidian)
“o: oḷḷe sakuna no:ḍ-i buddi” avã he:ḷ-in-ã
INTJ good omen look-IMP lord 3SG.M say-PST-3SG.M
“Oh, it’s a good omen! Look, my lord!” he said (Si & Spronck 2019: 283)

Between the clausal elements various linking elements may appear and degrees of syntactic integration (traditionally represented as the distinction between ‘direct’ vs. ‘indirect’ speech). In addition to expressing utterances, the structures used in reported speech are also frequently found to express non-illocutionary meanings, such as thought (as in 3), intent (as in 4 and 5), causation or aspectual meanings, among others. These ‘extended’ meanings of reported speech occur with a
noticeable crosslinguistic frequency and regularity (Spronck & Nikitina 2019: 140-142, and references therein).

(3) Tommo So (Mali; Dogon)
yɛ́llɛ̀ g-àà=sɛ́-m.
come.IMPF say-PFV=have-1SG
‘I think that he’s coming’ (McPherson 2013: 454)

(4) Kalam (Papua New Guinea; Madang)
“laplap d-in!” ag nŋ-i, ktg ow-a-k
clothes take-1SG.HORT say think-SS.PRIOR leave come-3SG-PAST
‘She wanted to take (steal) clothes (but) left (them) behind.’ (lit.: ‘“Let me take clothes!” say, having thought, leaving she came.’) (Pawley & Bulmer 2011: 64)

(5) Maale (Ethiopia; North Omotic)
gém-átsí maatt-ó múʔ-á-ne geʔ-í mágg-ó ʔááɗ-é-ne
ox-M:NOM grass-ABS eat-IPF-A:DCL say-CNV1 cliff-ABS go-IPF-A:DCL
‘The ox fell off the cliff when it was trying to eat the grass’ (Amha 2001: 149) [lit.: ‘The ox fell of the cliff saying: “I will eat the grass”’]

As the literal translations of (3-5) illustrate, in each of these cases a clausal element with a verb glossed as ‘say’ signals a meaning that does not reflect an attributed locution.

In this workshop we explore the range of meanings and structures in expressions of reported speech, with a specific focus on non-illocutionary meanings, i.e. examples of reported speech where no attributed utterance is suggested.

The workshop will consist of data sessions of 30-60 minutes each. We invite linguists working on any language, but specifically colleagues working on non-Standard Average European languages to send us a brief expression of interest for participation in the workshop by 10 December 2019. Participants will be asked to prepare a 5-10 minute introduction and a handout with relevant data or a text/Elan file with reported speech in context, after which we will open the floor for general discussion of the data. Prior to the workshop participants will be sent a brief typological questionnaire highlighting some grammatical properties that appear particularly relevant for non-utterance interpretations of reported speech and which can be used to prepare the handout.

Please send your expression of interest by 10 December 2019 to Stef Spronck and Daniela Casartelli at [email address expired]. In your message, please include the name of the language you work on, a brief motivation for why your data is relevant for exploring the meanings and structures of reported speech and whether you would like to present a 30 or 60-minute data session.

Participation in the workshop is free of charge and meals will be provided, but no support for travel and accommodation is available. Participants will be notified by 12 December 2019.