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

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

Fifth session – Finno-Ugric and Tsova-Tush

Felix Anker and Denys Teptiuk presented a lively fifth session of our workshop, discussing data from the Nakh-Daghestanian language Tsova-Tush and a whirlwind tour of Finno-Ugric languages, respectively.

Questions about how to delineate marking and meaning in reported speech arose throughout the meeting.

Felix Anker’s data session showed the interaction between a quotative marker in Tsova-Tush and speech verbs, raising questions about the demarcation of construction types and the evaluation of optional elements in reported speech. Videos illustrating the use of reported speech in natural discourse led to stimulating discussions about the role of multimodal elements in the expression of speech reports.

Denys Teptiuk highlighted two extended meanings in Finno-Ugric reported speech: the functions of ‘reason’ and ‘purpose’. His comparative perspective allowed for interesting questions about the degree to which these meanings arise through inference or are specifically marked in the various languages –and the cross-linguistic variation between them in this respect.

Please join us for our final workshop session in 2020 on the 10th of December!

– Stef

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!

– Stef

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!

– Stef

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!

– Stef

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!

– Stef

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!