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 late 2021/early 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

Twelveth session: Gizey and Kakabe

The twelveth session of our reported speech workshop travelled through various parts of Africa, with Guillaume Guitang discussing the Chadic language Gizey and Alexandra Vydrina discussing the Mande language Kakabe.

Both presentations gave detailed accounts of reported speech marking in the respective languages, including extended functions and variation in the form of matrix units -and managed to introduce some new surprises.

Guillaume Guitang showed that the quotative marker in Gizey consists of various morphological components that are synchronically only partially transparent, but can be analysed as a combination of dedicated quotative elements and other markers, including a modal element. He also shared the rather spectacular find of an ‘anti-logophoric’ marker in Gizey, which, unlike regular logophoric pronouns, appears to be used to indicate non-coreferentiality between matrix subjects and those in report clauses.

Alexandra Vydrina shed an interesting new light on indirect speech, by demonstrating that in Kakabe indirect pronominal reference is in fact much more common in conversation than in, e.g., narrative genres, with direct speech being most common in genres that the current speaker has no involvement in at all. This appears to contradict the common assumption that indirect speech is a more literary and written device, whereas spontaneous spoken language typically favours direct speech.

Please join us again for a new and varied session on 8 April!

Eleventh session – English-Hindi code-switching and Andi

The eleventh session of our reported speech workshop returned to our regular format of data sessions with two presentations that again demonstrated the breadth and impact of the phenomenon of reported speech.

Within the context of a broader study on Hindi-English code-switching, Aung Si discussed corpus examples of code-switching in reported speech constructions. In addition to introducing data from yet another language area (and language families) into the workshop, his analysis also showed that the locus of switches between English and Hindi could violate about any syntactic prediction proposed in the literature. This raised interesting questions about the structural representation of reported speech and, especially, led to discussion about the (in)sufficiency of reducing, e.g., indirect speech constructions to ‘regular’ examples of complementation clauses.

Timur Maisak brought us to an area that we have visited more frequently in the workshop, presenting data from the Caucasian language Andi, but made it very clear that languages in this geographical region show some of the most surprising and exciting features to study semantic and structural properties of reported speech. His talk addressed the marking status of quotative markers in combination with matrix elements, various semantic extensions of reported speech and finished with interesting observations about the indexical properties in Andi reported speech (unlike in many other Caucasian languages not related to pronominal clitics, but to the behaviour of demonstatives).

Please join us for two new data sessions on the 25th!

– Stef

Tenth session: taking stock and planning ahead

A slightly atypical edition of the reported speech workshop this week: we discussed some of the themes that have come up during the past nine sessions and considered some topics that we would still like to discuss in upcoming meetings.

The diagram below, collaboratively produced using a whiteboard webservice called ‘Flinga’, visualises some of the workshop topics and their connections (for a higher-resolution version, please contact us; thanks to Denys Teptiuk for providing the screenshot!):

Next time we will return to our regular data session format, so please join us again then.

Ninth session – Ivorian French and Nisvai

Our third reported speech workshop in 2021 provided yet another set of perspectives on the topic: geographically, with a discussion of Nisvai, the first Oceanic language in the series and thematically, with discussions of a social media corpus of Ivorian French and the acoustic properties of direct speech.

Lacina Silué shared his fascinating data on Ivorian French, showing that the French complementiser que appears to have been co-opted into a quotative function under the influence of the Djula quotative marker ko. This quotative also has been directly borrowed into Ivorian French with a pejorative reporting meaning. The similar-but-different types of logophoric markers in the language led to interesting comparative discussions with the other Africanists in the workshop.

Jocelyn Aznar presented his annotated corpus of Nisvai narratives, demonstrating interactions in the length and position of pauses, ‘silent gaps’, relative to the reported clause and interjections occurring at its boundaries. Other participants in the workshop shared comparative observations about the role and impact of structural marking of interjections, prosodic and multi-modal features or reported speech and methodological suggestions were exchanged.

The regular programme of the workshop returns on the 11th of March, but next time we will take stock: looking back at the issues that have been raised over the past nine sessions, identifying open questions and research angles and exploring possibilities for collaboration on sub-projects and publications. Please join us!

– Stef

Eighth session – Guro and Udihe

The second edition of our reported speech workshop in 2021 led us again across two different continents and into engaged discussion.

Olga Kuznetsova presented her work on Guro, showing that bare quotes are very common in her narrative data and illustrating various additional strategies involving a quotative verb. Of particular interest was the use of personal pronouns and logophorics in reported speech, which again brought up discussions about the direct-indirect speech dichotomy. Reported speech in Guro also displays extended meanings beyond speech, like complementiser uses and modal interpretations.

Elena Perekhvalskaya shared her analysis of Udyhe, which has two wonderfully complex but very regular dedicated constructions for expressing reported speech. The data commonly showed patterns of speech introducing clauses followed by a report and quotative verb, which raised questions about the exact syntactic boundary of reported speech marking in the language. Elena also showed examples of multiply embedded speech reports, which illustrated the difficulty of reference tracking and the variety of categories attested in this grammatical context.

Pleas join us again for the next session on the 11th of February!

– Stef

Seventh session – Ainu and Botlikh

Our reported speech workshop was off to an excellent start in 2021 with data sessions by Anna Bugaeva on Ainu and Samira Verhees on Botlikh.

The discussion on Ainu thematised the distinction between direct and indirect speech, where Anna Bugaeva especially focused on the status of logophoric speech, whose interpretation is closer to direct speech than to indirect or ‘mixed’ perspectival speech. (Also see the upcoming paper Nikitina & Bugaeva 2021 in the journal Linguistics.) The session also introduced a set of complementisers in Ainu indirect speech constructions that allow for the expression of complex speaker attitudes.

Samira Verhees presented her data on Botlikh, showing an very consistent reported speech construction involving a quotative marker, with some interesting variations and alternative particles. She also briefly reflected on the very timely topic of checking or collecting data remotely using social media. The discussion further focused on the genre-specificity of certain types of reported speech structures and the logophoric use of reflexive pronouns in Botlikh, which led to stimulating comparative discussions across fieldsites, with other Caucasianists and with Africanists in the workshop.

New sessions have been added to the schedule, so be welcome to join us for the meetings this year! (If you are not yet on the mailing list, please contact me or Daniela for the Zoom-link.)

– Stef

LangNet Winter School Poster Presentation: Extended meanings of Reported Speech

During the LangNet Winter School 2020 I had the opportunity to present the current stage of my research on meaning extensions of reported speech constructions in a poster.

It was a wonderful learning experience and a good opportunity to exchange ideas with my peers and more senior researchers alike. The presentations were held through Zoom, and I received many interesting questions.

The main topics I addressed during my 5min presentation were two examples of languages from my sample that have meaning extensions of RSCs, the methods I use for qualitative and quantitative analysis using an extension package in R, and finally that meaning extensions of RSCs are not limited to geographic areas or language families.

The questions I received addressed the data collection and also how RSCs are classified in my analysis.

This brief presentation and discussion provided useful and constructive feedback that I will implement in my thesis and analysis. Stay tuned! You can access the poster here.

– Daniela

Sixth session – Classical Nahuatl and Jula

The final session of our reported speech workshop in 2020 spanned two continents and time periods, with Mauro Alberto Mendoza Posadas discussing Classical Nahuatl and Susie Locklin presenting her recent field data on Jula.

Susie Locklin shared detailed examples of pronominal patterns in Jula narratives, demonstrating that logophoric pronouns are used in some grammatical contexts but not in others. This led to interesting observations about glossing and the interpretation and translation of types of reported speech that cannot be readily translated as standard ‘direct speech’, but also do not qualify as ‘indirect speech’ under any common interpretation.

Mauro Alberto Mendoza Posadas discussed his corpus of Classical Nahuatl texts, consisting of documents from the the 16th and early 17th centuries. Notable features in reported speech in the language included a quotative verb that typically served to introduce reported speech, sometimes preceded by a manner of speech verb, in order to further specify various speech events. Interesting questions arose about how to analyse examples of reported speech in which the quotative verb was absent, and in relation to the connection between reported speech marking and evidential/modal categories in Classical Nahuatl.

We would like to thank all participants who contributed to the reported speech workshop this year, it has been a great pleasure. We are looking forward to seeing everyone again for our continuation after the winter break on the 14th of January

– Stef