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!