In a manner of speaking : how reported speech may have shaped grammar

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Spronck , S & Casartelli , D E 2021 , ' In a manner of speaking : how reported speech may have shaped grammar ' , Frontiers in Communication - Language Sciences , vol. 6 , 624486 .

Title: In a manner of speaking : how reported speech may have shaped grammar
Author: Spronck, Stef; Casartelli, Daniela Elisabetta
Contributor: University of Helsinki, General Linguistics
University of Helsinki, General Linguistics
Date: 2021
Language: eng
Belongs to series: Frontiers in Communication - Language Sciences
Abstract: Reported speech constructions in the languages of the world have a remarkable quality in that they often tend to reflect a wide range of functions beyond representing locutions. Functions typically include meanings that are conceptually close to reported speech, such as THINK or WANT , but also interpretations that do not appear to have an obvious conceptual relation with talking, such as CAUSE or BEGIN TO . Reported speech may therefore reflect both concepts of communication and inner worlds and meaning reminiscent of ‘core grammar’, such as evidentiality, modality, aspect, (relational) tense and clause linking. In this paper we present a broad typological survey of the extended functions attested with reported speech, demonstrating that they are both wide-ranging and remarkably regular. Also, we show that the meaning extensions are not restricted to expressions of quotation in a strict sense (i.e. direct speech), but more often occur in other types of reported speech, including indirect speech and reportative evidentials. We propose that the specific meaning extensions are associated with several distinct structural features, which both lends insight into the nature of the traditional categories of reported speech and the relation between perspective taking constructions and the respective functions. Based on these observations the article develops the radical hypothesis that perspective-taking is not just a peripheral function of language, but that it has fundamentally shaped grammar at its most basic level: we propose that the fact that extended reported speech resembles core grammatical meanings is not only because in some language reported speech constructions act as a diachronic source for these categories, but also that reported speech provides a fundamental semantic model for understanding them. The proposal has implications for the description of reported speech/quotation as a class of syntactic structures, as well as for the grammatical analysis of the categories involved and, more speculatively, for the evolution of language.
Subject: 6121 Languages

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