Research Articles

Quotatives in Indigenous languages of Brazil

Authors
  • Suzi Lima orcid logo (University of Toronto)
  • Uli Sauerland orcid logo (Leibniz-Centre General Linguistics (ZAS))
  • Tonjes Veenstra orcid logo (Leibniz-Centre General Linguistics (ZAS))

Abstract

In light of the literature on reported speech and discussion of reported speech in the eight languages included in this collection, we present an overview of some features of reported speech constructions in Indigenous languages spoken in Brazil. Features of reported speech constructions that we discuss include the presence, partial presence, or absence of quote framers; the complete or limited marking of the matrix clause (the framer clause that may identify the reported speaker); the multimodal nature of reported speech, that is, phonological cues or gestures in addition to morphosyntactic marking, and the ways direct and indirect speech are contrasted in a language when this distinction is available. Overall, this volume contributes to typological studies on quotatives since the properties of direct/indirect speech are not uniform across the languages of the world.

Keywords: quotatives, direct speech, indirect speech, Brazil

How to Cite: Lima, S., Sauerland, U. & Veenstra, T., (2023) “Quotatives in Indigenous languages of Brazil”, Language Documentation and Description 23(2). doi: https://doi.org/10.25894/ldd.360

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Published on
15 Feb 2024
Peer Reviewed

1. Introduction

Quotatives, or reports of past speech acts, are traditionally viewed as split between two types: oratio recta and oratio obliqua, direct and indirect speech. These terms originate with the grammatical description of Ancient Greek and Latin (Liberati 2017 and others), but a similar distinction is found in many present-day European languages (Coulmas 1986). The examples in (1) illustrate the contrast between direct (1a) and indirect (1b) speech.

    1. (1)
    1. a.
    1. John F. Kennedy said “I am a Berliner.”
    1.  
    1. b.
    1. John F. Kennedy said that he was a Berliner.

Because in a famous speech at the height of the cold war John F. Kennedy produced the German words “Ich bin ein Berliner”, which can be translated into English as “I am a Berliner”, both (1a) and (1b) are acceptable as true. But (1a) would not be acceptable if we changed the subject from first person I to third person he or the verbal tense from the present tense am to the past tense was. This is because in English direct speech the coordinates of evaluation are obligatorily shifted from me, the current author, and the time of my speaking back to John F. Kennedy speaking on June 26, 1963 in Berlin. So, he can’t be used to refer to Kennedy and was could not be used to refer to 1963.

A second important grammatical property of quotatives in English and other European languages is syntactic islandhood. It is ungrammatical to question a constituent of a quotative as in (2a), but English allows a parallel structure in indirect speech.

    1. (2)
    1. a.
    1. *Which city did John F. Kennedy say “I am a resident of”?
    1.  
    1. b.
    1.   Which city did John F. Kennedy say that he was a resident of?

Much of the recent interest in speech reports such as these originates with two independent events: a renewed interest in recursion following the publication of Hauser, Chomsky & Fitch (2002), and the discovery of indexical shift. Of course, recursion is found in languages at many levels, and many theoreticians would agree that any three-word sentence must involve a recursive structure. Still, recursion of one sentence contained within another as is found in speech reports may constitute a special case. This is justified from a cognitive science perspective, as for example Bühler (1934) has proposed that speech reports specifically involve meta-representation in their interpretation, i.e., rather than directly evaluating expressions from the current perspective, it is the general relationship established between a perspective and an evaluation that determines the interpretation. Furthermore, there is some evidence that theory of mind ability, i.e., the ability to ascribe mental states different from one’s own to other individuals, a cognitive ability at least closely related to Bühler’s meta-representation, is in part linked to the ability to form embedded sentences.

But the properties of quotatives are not everywhere as uniform as they are in English and the few other European languages. An important discovery has been the phenomenon of indexical shift that has been found in many languages across the globe, especially since Schlenker’s (2003) work on Amharic (Hamito-Semitic) pointed out the theoretical relevance of these cases. A central example of his discussion is presented in example (3), where the second person in the speech report is not understood as referring to the addressee of the reporting speech act, but as referring to the addressee of the reported speech act. At the same time, the question word what cannot be part of the speech that is reported. So, (3) would seem to correspond to the English structure “I didn’t hear what he said to me ‘you bring’”, which like (2a) is ungrammatical in English.1

    1.  
    1. Amharic
    1. (3)
    1. mɨn
    2. what
    1. amt’-a
    2. bring.IMP-2M
    1. ɨnd-al-ə-ññ
    2. COMP-say.PRF-3M-1SO
    1. al-səmma-hu-mm
    2. NEG-hear.PRF-1S-NEG
    1. ‘I didn’t hear what he told me to bring.’
    2. (Leslau 1995: 779, example 142.9; Schlenker 2003: 68, example 54)

Schlenker’s analysis is that (3) is not a full quotative; Amharic allows an operation of indexical shift that shifts some aspects of an indirect speech report back to the original speech event. The result is a type of indirect speech that shares some characteristics with direct speech.

How surprising the discovery of indexical shift was for theorists can be seen from the fact that the philosopher David Kaplan (1978) called the type of context-shifting operator that makes indexical shift possible a “Monster” and claimed that such operators did not exist in human language. Making reference to this, the current literature on the topic frequently uses a typographic monster from the computer game Pacman to indicate the operator.

Interestingly, indexical shift is not uniform across languages. Consider examples from the Amazonian language Matses (Panoan). The Matses example in (4) was elicited by means of a translation task from Spanish to Matses for the Spanish indirect speech report “Danny said yesterday that he will come tomorrow”. However, the Matses translation in (4) obligatorily contains the first person instead of third person, tomorrow instead of today, and go instead of come. In all three cases, the indexical elements in the speech report are interpreted not relative to the current time of the speaker giving the speech report as in indirect speech, but are shifted back to the event of the original speech event that is being reported as in quotations.

    1.  
    1. Matses
    1. (4)
    1. badiadaşh
    2. tomorrow
    1. nid-e-bi
    2. go-NPST-1S
    1. ke-o-şh
    2. say-PST-3
    1. Dashe
    2. Dashe
    1. uşhë
    2. other
    1. utsi-n
    2. day-TMP
    1. “I will go tomorrow,” said Dashe yesterday.
    2. (Munro et al. 2012: 58, example 46)

At the same time, Matses quotations differ from English direct speech in two ways. As illustrated by (5), Matses allows extracted structures similar to (2a), which are not possible in English.

    1.  
    1. Matses
    1. (5)
    1. mida
    2. which
    1. padkid
    2. type
    1. senad
    2. deer
    1. Dashe
    2. Dashe
    1. kues-o-mbi
    2. kill-PST-1A
    1. ke-o-şh
    2. say-PST-3
    1. Which deer-type did Dashe say “I killed”?
    2. (Munro et al. 2012: 59, example 48)

Furthermore, (6) shows another case where two perspectives are available in a speech report in Matses in what is called a de re interpretation. Here, the belief of Dashe’s reported speech was not that it is impossible that there are actual sloths that are also termite nests, but (6) is acceptable in a scenario where Dashe saw an actual termite nest in the dark and thought it was a termite nest. Note that English direct speech (Dashe thought saying “the termite nest is a sloth”) does not allow such de re interpretations.

    1.  
    1. Matses
    1. (6)
    1. Dashe-n
    2. Dashe-ERG
    1. chuinte
    2. sloth
    1. mechodo
    2. termite.nest
    1. ne-e-k
    2. be-NPST-3
    1. ke-kin
    2. say-while:s/a>a
    1. tantia-uid-o-şh
    2. think-NCOMPL-PST-3
    1. Dashe thought saying “the termite nest is a sloth”
    2. Possible interpretation: ‘Dashe thought that the termite nest was a sloth’.
    3. (Ludwig et al. 2009, example 13)

Deal (2020) provides an overview of recent theoretical work on indexical shift. In addition to Amharic, languages important to the discussion have included Nez Perce, Slave (Anand & Nevins 2004), Uyghur (Shklovsky & Sudo 2014), Tamil (Sundaresan 2013), Tatar (Podobryaev 2014), Telugu (Messick 2017), Zazaki (Anand & Nevins 2004), and more recently Tabasaran (Bogomolova 2023) and Aqusha Dargwa (Ganenkov 2023).

The Matses example shows that data on quotatives from Amazonian languages are of great theoretical interest. Up to now quotatives in Amazonian languages have been primarily discussed within grammars or under the general topic of subordination (van Gijn et al. 2011). Some Amazonian languages have been described as only allowing direct speech reports: for example, in addition to Matses (Fleck 2006), Michael (2001) reports this for Nanti (Arawakan). Brazilian and/or Amazonian languages are of great interest for understanding quotatives since they represent different families and, in some areas, indexical shift may be a regional phenomenon across different language families. The topic of quotation in Amazonian languages is for this reason (among others) of broad theoretical interest.

In Section 2, in addition to exploring the contrast between direct and indirect speech, we discuss other aspects of quotatives based on the descriptive and typological literature (cf. Spronck & Nikitina 2019) in light of the patterns described by the authors of this volume. These include, for example: the argument structure of speech verbs, characteristic features of quotatives as well as of the main clauses that may co-occur with them (such as I said to her in “I said to her: ‘I will leave soon’”), and the impact of text genre in the choice of quotative structure.

2. Quotatives in Indigenous languages spoken in Brazil

In this section we present an overview of some features observed across the Indigenous languages spoken in Brazil that are represented in this volume. Those languages are:

  • East Tukano: Kotiria and Wa’ikhana (Stenzel & Williams)

  • Karib: Kuikuro (Franchetto)

  • Macro Jê: Maxakalí (Silva, Campos & Nevins) and Panará (Bardagil)

  • Tupi: Karitiana (Ferreira & Storto), Sakurabiat (Galucio), and Yudja (Lima)

The data reported on combine both analyses of texts and data from elicitation sessions. The authors were provided with a previously unpublished questionnaire prepared by Tonjes Veenstra, Denny Moore, and Hein van der Voort which includes a list of relevant phenomena for the investigation of quotatives. (Veenstra, Moore, and van der Voort’s questionnaire is published as part of the present collection.) When describing quotatives in a language, some of the questions researchers were encouraged to explore are:

  • How many quotative structures are there in the language? Is there a distinction between direct and indirect speech? Are there other types of quotatives that cannot be easily classified as direct or indirect speech (Questionnaire Parts 1, 2, 8, 9)?

  • What are the properties that characterize quotatives in the language? How do speakers and hearers identify the beginning and end of quotatives? Are there morphological/suprasegmental features that are used to identify them? Can quotatives appear on their own? (Questionnaire Parts 3, 4, 6)

  • What are the properties of speech verbs in quotative constructions? Is there a difference between quoted speech and other information (thoughts/intentions/fears, etc.)? (Questionnaire Parts 5, 6)

  • If there are several strategies for encoding direct and indirect speech in the language, what are the factors that impact the choice for one strategy over another? For example, is there an impact on the type of text (e.g., historical narratives versus other types of texts) in the choice of one structure over another? (Questionnaire, Part 11)

  • Are any of the quotative constructions available in the language a result of areal diffusion and language contact? (Questionnaire, Part 12)

In the remainder of this section, we present an overview of some features observed across the languages studied in light of these questions.

2.1. Strategies for encoding quotatives

Quotatives are an interesting phenomenon in terms of both form and function. From a form perspective, as discussed by Spronck & Nikitina (2019: 123), there is great variation in how quotatives (which they call ‘reported speech’) are expressed across languages, including “explicit structures that unambiguously mark the phenomenon, but also by minimal linguistic means, or even extra-linguistic means (such as eye gaze or gesture)”.2 This observation is supported by the languages described in this volume.

A common pattern attested in Sakurabiat, Kuikuro, Kotiria, Yudja, and Wai’khana is the possible absence of a matrix clause that introduces the reported speech. This is a common feature cross-linguistically (D’Arcy 2015; Spronck & Nikitina 2019).3 An example of quotatives not introduced by a verb is presented in (7b), from Sakurabiat. In this language, this type of construction is frequently used in dialogues in narratives. In Sakurabiat, as discussed by Galucio, only the first quotation (7a) is introduced by the verb erek ‘to speak’:

    1.  
    1. Sakurabiat
    1. (7)
    1. a.
    1. kaar=ẽp
    2. DEM=EMPH
    1. sete
    2. he/she
    1. erek
    2. speak
    1. nẽãrã
    2. again
    1. sete
    2. he/she
    1. arɨkʷajõ
    2. arɨkʷajõ
    1. ejat-oo
    2. 2PL-AUX.PL
    1. soga
    2. HORT
    1. i-ka-a
    2. 3-ingest-TV
    1. pe=ɨkɨ
    2. OBL=water
    1. Then Arikwayõ spoke again: “You go drink water.”
    1.  
    1. b.
    1. ar=ẽp
    2. DEM=EMPH
    1. poret
    2. now/then
    1. sete
    2. he/she
    1. soga
    2. HORT
    1. te
    2. FOC
    1. i-ka-a
    2. 3-ingest-TV
    1. Then he (said): “(let’s) go drink!”
    2. (Galucio, p. 8, examples 18a and 18b)

An equally common strategy for encoding quotatives across languages, including the languages presented in this volume, is the use of a speech verb. Many authors refer to speech verbs and other morphological strategies that introduce/delimitate quotatives as quote framers. In some languages, you might observe the presence of more than one speech verb, one introducing the quote and another marking its conclusion. Such is one of the strategies discussed for Yudja (8):

    1.  
    1. Yudja
    1. (8)
    1. Frame:
    2.  
    3.  
    1.  
    2. Mahu
    3. Mahu
    1. speech verb 1
    2. hae
    3. say
    1. [quote]
    2. [i-zaku
    3. 3-see
    1.  
    2. na
    3. 1SG
    1.  
    2. Yaba
    3. Yaba
    1.  
    2. be]
    3. DAT
    1. speech verb 2
    2. a4
    3. say
    1. Mahu said: “I saw Yaba.”
    2. (Lima, p. 15, example 50)

Within a single language, multiple quotative strategies may be used. In Kuikuro, direct quotes may occur without explicit framing. They may also be introduced by the verb ki- ‘say’ (9) or just by the aspectual information that would ordinarily be carried by the verb say (10):

    1.  
    1. Kuikuro
    1. (9)
    1. túhagu inkgete anha kitagü üngahingo kitagü
    1.  
    1. túhagu
    2. sieve
    1. iN-kete
    2. bring-IMP.CTP
    1. anha
    2. dead
    1. ki-tagü
    2. say-DUR
    1. üngahi-ngo
    2. circle.houses-NMLZ
    1. ki-tagü
    2. say-DUR
    1. “Bring túhagu (sieve)!”, the dead is/was saying, the one of the other house is/was saying.
    1. (10)
    1. túhagu inkgkete tajheke
    1.  
    1. túhagu
    2. sieve
    1. iN-kete
    2. bring-IMP.CTP
    1. Ø-ta(gü)
    2. SAY-DUR
    1. i-heke
    2. 3-PRSP
    1. “Bring túhagu!”, (she) was saying to her.
    2. (Franchetto, p. 6 and 8, examples 9 and 12)

One often-discussed aspect of speech verbs is their transitivity. Much literature has explored the argument structure of speech verbs in quotative constructions (Buchstaller 2013; D’Arcy 2015; Munro 1982; Partee 1973 among many others). In many languages, speech verbs present features normally associated with intransitive verbs. For example, in Chikasaw (Munro 1982: 303), a Muskogean language, objects of transitive sentences but not quotes can be marked with the object marker -ã (11a–11b). Some additional features of the transitivity status of quotatives discussed by Munro 1982 are reviewed in Lima’s contribution to this collection.

    1.  
    1. Chickasaw
    1. (11)
    1. a.
    1. Ihoo
    2. woman
    1. (*-ã)
    2. OBJ
    1. aachi
    2. say
    1. He says: “woman.”
    2. (Munro 1982: 303, example 2a)
    1.  
    1. b.
    1. Hilha
    2. dance
    1. (*-ã)
    2. OBJ
    1. aachi
    2. say
    1. He says: “She is dancing.”
    2. (Munro 1982: 303, example 2b)

In some of the languages presented in this volume, speech verbs are analyzed as intransitive based on characteristics specific to the languages being studied. In all three of the Tupi languages (Karitiana, Sakurabiat, and Yudja) at least some of the speech verbs are analyzed as intransitive. In Karitiana, for example, the verb ’a ‘to say/do’ can only take an object when it is causativized (12):

    1.  
    1. Karitiana
    1. (12)
    1. j̃onso
    2. woman
    1. Ø-naka-m-’a-t
    2. 3-DECL-CAUS-do-NFUT
    1. café
    2. coffee
    1. The woman made coffee.
    2. (Ferreira & Storto, p.5, example 14)

In quotative constructions, this verb is not causativized, which suggests that it is being used intransitively (13):

    1.  
    1. Karitiana
    1. (13)
    1. Julenilza
    2. Julenilza
    1. Ø-naka-’a-t
    2. 3-DECL-do-NFUT
    1. hak
    2. here
    1. y-ta-aka
    2. 1SG-DECL-COP
    1. tykat
    2. IPFV-NFUT
    1. yn
    2. 1SG
    1. kabm
    2. now
    1. Julenilza said “I’m here now”.
    2. (Ferreira & Storto, p. 11, example 32)

The intransitiveness of speech verbs is an attested feature in other Amazonian language families as well. In Kuikuro (Carib), evidence for the intransitivity of speech verbs comes from the absence of ergative markers on verbs in quotative constructions, whether direct (14a) or indirect (14b)):

    1.  
    1. Kuikuro
    1. (14)
    1. a.
    1. umukugu kilü uheke konige Canaranana etelüti itsagü
    1.  
    1.  
    1. u-muku-gu
    2. 1-son-POSSi
    1. ki-lü
    2. say-PNCT
    1. u-heke
    2. 1-PRSP
    1. konige
    2. yesterday
    1. Canarana-na
    2. Canarana-ALL
    1. e-te-lü-ti
    2. 3k-go-PNCT-DES
    1. i-tsagü
    2. 3.be-DUR
    1. My soni said to me yesterday: “Hek wants to go to Canarana”.
    2. (Franchetto, p. 11, example 23a)
    1.  
    1. b.
    1. umukugu kilü konige uheke etelüti itsagü Canaranana
    1.  
    1.  
    1. u-muku-gu
    2. 1-son-POSSi
    1. ki-lü
    2. say-PNCT
    1. konige
    2. yesterday
    1. u-heke
    2. 1-PRSP
    1. e-te-lü-ti
    2. 3-go-PNCT-DESi
    1. i-tsagü
    2. 3k.be-DUR
    1. Canarana-na
    2. Canarana-ALL
    1. My soni said yesterday to me that hek wants to go to Canarana.
    2. (Franchetto, p. 11, example 23b)

However, that is not the case for all languages. For example, in the ergative-absolutive language Panará (Bardagil), the speech verb sũn ‘say’ presents the same distribution as other transitive verbs in the language. The subject of sũn is marked as ergative in both direct (15) and indirect quotes (16):

    1.  
    1. Panará
    1. (15)
    1. mãra
    2. 3SG
    1. hẽ
    2. ERG
    1. ti=
    2. 3SG.ERG
    1. ø=
    2. 3SG.ABS
    1. sũn
    2. say
    1. prẽ
    2. who
    1. jy=
    2. INTR
    1. ø=
    2. 3SG.ABS
    1. too
    2. fly
    1. He said “Who left?”
    1. (16)
    1. Kuupêri
    2. Kuupêri
    1. hẽ
    2. ERG
    1. ti=
    2. 3SG.ERG
    1. Ø=
    2. 3SG.ABS
    1. sũn
    2. say
    1. inkin
    2. good
    1. pjow
    2. NEG
    1. inkô-rãnkjo
    2. water-black
    1. Kuupêri said that he doesn’t like coffee.
    2. (Bardagil, p. 6 and 7, examples 18 and 32)

Some of the papers in this volume describe not only speech verbs but also other verbs that may occur in quotative constructions, such as verbs of thought. In the languages where these verbs are discussed—Koitiria and Wa’ikhana (Stenzel & Williams), Maxakalí (Silva, Campos & Nevins), and Sakurabiat (Galucio)—verbs of thought are argued to have a structure that is parallel to that of quotatives with speech verbs.5

The type of text (e.g., historical narratives versus other types of texts) also has an impact on the choice of one quotative structure over another. In Panará, Bardagil observes that among the speech verbs in his materials, one speech verb, jãri, is more frequently used in narratives. In Kuikuro, the most frequently used strategy in narratives is the absence of quote framing. This was also a tendency attested in Kotiria and Wa’ikhana (Stenzel & Williams). Similarly, Galucio reports that Sakurabiat speech verbs are not commonly used in reported dialogues. Ferreira and Storto report that only in Karitiana narratives (but not in other types of quoted speech, such as examples elicited via translation, for example) a mood morpheme (-iri) occurs prefixed on verbs, always followed by a future morpheme (17):

    1.  
    1. Karitiana
    1. (17)
    1. Uh
    2. INTERJ
    1. ti-’a
    2. OFC-do
    1. tyka
    2. IPFV
    1. hy͂
    2. INTERR
    1. iri-’a-j
    2. QUOT-do/say-FUT
    1. taso
    2. man
    1. “Uh, what is going on?”, said the men.
    2. (Storto 1999, cited in Ferreira & Storto, p. 15, example 44)

Some of the papers discuss reportative evidentials as well as quotatives. For example, Stenzel & Williams show that these morphemes may occur within quoted speech to establish that the source of information is someone else other than the speaker. They do observe, however, that these morphemes are rarely used in quotative constructions and for that reason are “not construed to be an alternate ‘quotative’ strategy” (Stenzel & Williams, p. 15). See also Ferreira & Storto, Bardagil, and Lima for discussion of reportatives in other languages in the volume.

2.2. Direct and Indirect Speech

Several of the languages discussed are characterized by the presence of direct speech only (for example, Kotiria, Maxakalí, Sakurabiat, and Wai’khana).6 One source of evidence for this comes from the absence of deictic shift in quotes, as discussed by Stenzel & Williams. In examples (18a and 18b), despite being presented with an indirect quote in Portuguese during the elicitation session, ‘Nick said he ate beiju’, speakers provided a direct quote, which can be observed from the use of the first person within the quote (“I ate beiju”, Nick said).

    1.  
    1. Kotiria
    1. (18)
    1. a.
    1. Nick nahure chʉi nire
    1.  
    1.  
    1. Nick
    2.  
    1. ~dahú-ré
    2. beiju-OBJ
    1. chʉ́-i
    2. eat-VIS.PFV.1
    1. ~dí-re
    2. say-VIS.PFV.2/3
    1. Nickj: “Ij ate beiju” (he) said.
    1.  
    1. Wai’khana
    1.  
    1. b.
    1. nahure i’yaʉ nidi Nick
    1.  
    1.  
    1. ~dahú-ré
    2. beiju-OBJ
    1. i’yá-ʉ
    2. eat-VIS.PFV.1
    1. ~dí-di
    2. say-VIS.PFV.2/3
    1. Nick
    2.  
    1. “Ij ate beiju” said Nickj.
    2. (Stenzel & Williams, p. 5, examples 6a and 6b)

On the other hand, a distinction between direct and indirect speech is described for Panará and Kuikuro. As discussed by Bardagil, in Panará, indirect speech is attested by a shift of perspective of person and indexical shift: direct speech jahã ‘here’ (19a) corresponds to indirect speech ũwãhã ‘there’ (19b):

    1.  
    1. Panará
    1. (19)
    1. a.
    1. ka=
    2. IRR
    1. ø=
    2. 1SG.IRR
    1. wajãri
    2. eat
    1. issy
    2. this
    1. jahã
    2. banana
    1. mãra
    2. 3SG
    1. hẽ
    2. ERG
    1. ti=
    2. 3SG.ERG
    1. ø=
    2. 3SG.ABS
    1. sũn
    2. say
    1. “I will make a fire here”, he said.
    1.  
    1. b.
    1. mãra
    2. 3SG
    1. hẽ
    2. ERG
    1. ti=
    2. 3SG.ERG
    1. ø=
    2. 3SG.ABS
    1. sũn
    2. say
    1. ka=
    2. IRR
    1. ti=
    2. NSPK
    1. ø=
    2. NADRE
    1. wajãri
    2. make
    1. issy
    2. fire
    1. ũwãhã
    2. there
    1. He said that he will make a fire there.
    2. (Bardagil, p. 6, examples 22a and 22b)

In Kuikuro, indirect speech is identifiable from the person marked on the verb within the quote (contrast 20a with 20b); in indirect quote constructions, the subject of the quotative is co-referent with the subject in the matrix clause.7 Franchetto also notes that direct speech is observed more frequently than indirect speech in Kuikuro.

    1.  
    1. Kuikuro
    1. (20)
    1. a.
    1. umukugu kilü uheke konige Canaranana utelüti uitsagü
    1.  
    1.  
    1. u-muku-gu
    2. 1-son-POSS
    1. ki-lü
    2. say-PNCT
    1. u-heke
    2. 1-PRSP
    1. konige
    2. yesterday
    1. Canarana-na
    2. Canarana-ALL
    1. u-te-lü-ti
    2. 1-go-PNCT-DES
    1. u-i-tsagü
    2. 1-be-DUR
    1. My son said to me yesterday: “I want to go to Canarana”.
    1.  
    1. b.
    1. umukugu kilü konige uheke tütelüti itsagü Canaranana
    1.  
    1.  
    1. u-muku-gu
    2. 1-son-POSSi
    1. ki-lü
    2. say-PNCT
    1. konige
    2. yesterday
    1. uheke
    2. 1-PRSP
    1. -te-lü-ti
    2. REFLi-go-PNCT-DES
    1. i-tsagü
    2. 3.be-DUR
    1. Canarana-na
    2. Canarana-ALL
    1. My soni said yesterday to me that hei wants to go to Canarana.
    2. (Franchetto, p. 10 and 11, examples 22a and 22b)

2.3. Quotatives, gestures, and prosodic cues

Spronck & Nikitina (2019: 142) observe that cross-linguistically, reported speech “appears to be accompanied disproportionally by gesture and prosodic cues”, which is why documenting such cues is important despite an absence of evidence that these cues play “a conventional role that compares to morphosyntactic expression”.8

Some of the papers (on Maxakalí, Panará, and Kuikuro) highlight prosodic features of quotative structures. For example, in Panará, Bardagil observes that direct quotes (but not indirect quotes) are produced with a higher pitch. In Kuikuro, Franchetto also discusses the role of prosody and gesture, especially in contexts in which a quote occurs without framing. In her words (Franchetto, p. 10):

Expressive prosody, the context, and, above all, the prior and shared knowledge of the narrative, knowledge from which the non-native researcher is excluded, provide the clues for the recovery of addresser and addressee referents. The mastery of unframed quoted speeches is a salient characteristic of the performance of an experienced story-teller, introducing dramatic movements and passages between scenes and characters.

Finally, Campos, Silva & Nevins show that in Maxakalí there is a drop in pitch when producing the expression kaxĩy, an optional expression that may occur after quotes.

2.4. Functions of quotatives in the discourse

Cross-linguistic research by Spronck & Nikitina (2019: 133) suggests, building on Michael (2014), that reported speech can involve strengthening or weakening a commitment to the content of the reported speech. Stenzel & Williams provide a detailed discussion of the possible uses of reported speech in a multilingual context. For example, the authors show that double embedding of quotatives is used to distance the speaker from responsibility for the content of quote. As pointed out by the authors, the role of quotatives is particularly interesting to explore in languages where realis declaratives include evidentials that reflect “the speaker’s perspective and relationship to events” (Stenzel & Williams, p. 14).

3. Final remarks

In this paper, we discussed some of the features that characterize reported speech in some Indigenous languages spoken in Brazil. In light of typological studies on the topic, we have drawn attention to some common features observed across such languages where direct speech seems to prevail. Multiple strategies may be employed in quotative constructions, including speech verbs, absence of quote framing, and partial presence of functional morphology without a speech verb (as observed in Kuikuro). The complete or limited marking of the matrix clause (the framer clause that may identify the reported speaker), also known as defenestration, is a common feature across languages (Spronck & Nikitina 2019: 126). Reported speech can also be analyzed as a multimodal phenomenon given that not only morphosyntactic cues but also prosody and gestures may be relevant components of reported speech cross-linguistically (Spronck & Nikitina 2019: 142). Finally, we find that the type of text has an effect in determining which quotative structure is going to be used in a language.

One last significant dimension of reported speech that is explored in this volume and that we wish to highlight is the pragmatic role of these structures. The contribution by Stenzel & Williams shows that exploring the use of quotatives in the discourse is an important yet understudied field of research, particularly in lesser studied languages.

Notes

  1. Abbreviations used in this paper: 1A first person agent; 1S first person singular; 1SG first person singular; 1SO first person singular object; 1/2/3 first/second/third person; 2M second person masculine; 2PL second person plural; 3 third person; 3M third person masculine; ABS absolutive; ALL allative; AUX auxiliary; CAUS causative; COMP complementizer; COP copula; DAT dative; DECL declarative mood; DEM demonstrative; DES desiderative; DUR durative; EMPH emphatic; ERG ergative; FOC focus; FUT future; HORT hortative; IMP imperative; IMP.CTP imperative.centripetal; INTERJ interjection; INTERR interrogative; INTR intransitive; IPFV imperfective aspect; IRR irrealis; NCOMPL non-completive; NEG negation; NFUT non-future; NMLZ nominalizer; NPST non-past tense; NSPK non-speaker; OBL oblique; OBJ object; OFC object focus construction; PFV perfective; PL plural; PNCT punctual (aspect); POSS possessive; PRF perfect; PRSP perspective heke; PST past tense; QUOT quotative mood; REFL reflexive; SG singular; TMP temporal; TV thematic vowel; VIS visual (evidential); WHILE:S/A>A while with transitivity agreement (Fleck 2003: 578–593). [^]
  2. We use the terms quotatives and reported speech interchangeably to refer to different types of quotative structures. We will specify whether we are referring to direct or indirect speech when needed. [^]
  3. Spronck & Nikitina (2019: 126) label this phenomenon ‘defenestration’. [^]
  4. In the Tupi language Gavião (Moore 2019), the end of a quotation (and more generally, the right-hand boundary of various constructions) is also indicated by the morpheme -á. [^]
  5. Silva, Campos & Nevins also discuss the distribution of the verb yũmũg ‘know’ in Maxakalí and show that it has a different distribution when compared with speech and thought verbs. This verb is not used as verb in a quotative structure. [^]
  6. In Maxakalí, Campos, Silva & Nevins report that indirect speech was not found in spontaneous speech and that its use was exceptional. [^]
  7. Franchetto also observes that while different speech verbs may occur with both direct and indirect quotes, some speech verbs are more frequently used in constructions with indirect quotes (iha- ‘to point at, to show’). [^]
  8. Spronck and Nikitina (2019: 142) build on studies by Stec et al. (2015) and Malibert & Vanhove (2015) when discussing the role of multimodality in the analysis of reported speech. [^]

Acknowledgements

We are thankful to all authors who contributed to this volume, reviewers, as well as Peter Austin and Jorge Rosés Labrada for their support in the early stages of the organization of this volume. We are also extremely grateful to Lise Dobrin, current editor of LDD, for all her work and attention dedicated to this volume.

Funding information

This project has received funding from the German Research Council (DFG, Project number 278211957) and the European Research Council (ERC) under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme (grant agreement number 856421).

Competing interests

The authors have no competing interests to declare.

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