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.

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