This article describes a number of linguistic expressions of doubt in the Dalabon language of Northern Australia. Here "doubt" refers to a family of experiences encompassing uncertainty, mistrust, hesitation... I present two important Dalabon verbal roots: njirrk, which builds upon the social paradigm of communication deficit; and kurduh, which anchors the description of doubt within practical situations. Dalabon also encourages the expression of doubt within discourse, thanks to a number of frequent rhetorical formulas. In none of these three modes of expression is doubt construed as a primarily cognitive experience. This contrasts with the use made of the French words "doute", "douter", essentially defined in reference with the cognitive domain: "Western" culture has indeed based important cultural developments upon this aspect of doubt. This reliance on social, or practical, rather than cognitive paradigms seems characteristic of the Dalabon conceptual landscape.
|Journal of the Societe des Oceanistes (Journal de la societe des oceanistes/Journal societe des oceanistes)
|Published - 2011