Shifting relations: Structure and agency in the language of Bininj Gunwok kinship

Murray Garde

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


    This chapter examines the connections between shared cultural knowledge about kinship structure and the pragmatic inferences that enable interlocutors to assess each other’s (multiple) perspectives. By drawing on Bininj Gunwok conversational data this chapter shows how linguistic choices are influenced by the dynamics of social relationships, particularly by context-specific speaker goals and stance-taking that focuses on intersubjectivity. The choice of kinterm is an essential component of stance-taking. A switch in kinterm shifts the indexes of various aspects of speaker agency (e.g. effecting solidarity, ratifying relationships with addressee and referent, justifying joint action). Kinterms in four different contexts are discussed: basic kin terms for affines; basic kin terms for skewed relationships; kin term shifts within unnamed superclasses; and triadic terms.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationLanguage Description Informed by Theory
    Editors Rob Pensalfini, Myfany Turpin and Diana Guillemin
    Place of PublicationAmsterdam and Philadephia
    PublisherJohn Benjamins Publishing Company
    ISBN (Print)9789027270917
    Publication statusPublished - 2014


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