Egophoricity, engagement, and the centring of subjectivity

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

    Abstract

    In egophoric systems formal patterns that are associated with first person subjects in declarative sentences are associated with second person subjects in questions. This difference in formal patterning is associated with a difference in the centring of subjectivity, whereby, for example, epistemic authority regarding the state of affairs that is described in a declarative sentence is vested in the speaker, whereas in a question it is vested in the addressee. Such egophoric patterning is but one in-stance of a wide range of phenomena that involve more-or-less regular shifts in the usual centring of subjectivity as between speaker and addressee. Here I examine three other such phenomena: 1) interactions between person marking and inten-tional modality; 2) shifts between speaker-centred and addressee-centred kinship terms when used in direct address; and 3) the prompting of children with utter-ances that are voiced as if from the child’s perspective. Evidence is drawn from the Papuan language Ku Waru and from comparison with other languages. I present an extended example of “engagement” in Ku Waru and compare it with 1-3. I show that, while grounded in the same basic aspects of human interaction, it differs from 1-3 in treating the centring of subjectivity as potentially variable, emergent, and dis-tributed across the interaction rather than as prototypically related to the speech roles of speaker and addressee and their alternation across speech-act types.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationEvidentiality, egophoricity, and engagement
    Editors Henrik Bergqvist and Seppo Kittilä
    Place of PublicationGermany
    PublisherLanguage Science Press
    Pages61-93
    Edition1
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2020

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