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The epistemization of person markers in reported speech


Widmer, Manuel; Zemp, Marius (2017). The epistemization of person markers in reported speech. Studies in Language, 41(4):33-75.

Abstract

Egophoricity is a cross-linguistically rare grammatical phenomenon. While numerous descriptive studies have substantially improved our synchronic understanding of the category in recent years, we are still largely ignorant of the diachronic origins of egophoricity systems. In this article, we address this gap and discuss a diachronic process that transforms person agreement markers into egophoricity markers. Based on evidence from three Tibeto-Burman languages, we reconstruct the diachronic transformation and argue that the process starts out in reported speech clauses once the direct construal of the predicate is generalized. This generalization allows for the functional reanalysis of first and third person markers as egophoric and allophoric markers, while second person markers become functionally obsolete. Once person markers have undergone an epistemization in reported speech clauses, the innovative epistemic system is extended to simple declarative and interrogative clauses, where it gradually replaces the conservative person agreement system.

Abstract

Egophoricity is a cross-linguistically rare grammatical phenomenon. While numerous descriptive studies have substantially improved our synchronic understanding of the category in recent years, we are still largely ignorant of the diachronic origins of egophoricity systems. In this article, we address this gap and discuss a diachronic process that transforms person agreement markers into egophoricity markers. Based on evidence from three Tibeto-Burman languages, we reconstruct the diachronic transformation and argue that the process starts out in reported speech clauses once the direct construal of the predicate is generalized. This generalization allows for the functional reanalysis of first and third person markers as egophoric and allophoric markers, while second person markers become functionally obsolete. Once person markers have undergone an epistemization in reported speech clauses, the innovative epistemic system is extended to simple declarative and interrogative clauses, where it gradually replaces the conservative person agreement system.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > Department of Comparative Linguistics
Dewey Decimal Classification:490 Other languages
890 Other literatures
410 Linguistics
Language:English
Date:May 2017
Deposited On:01 Mar 2018 10:38
Last Modified:14 Mar 2018 17:58
Publisher:John Benjamins Publishing
ISSN:0378-4177
OA Status:Green
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1075/sl.41.1.02wid

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