The Absconditive revealed: Attention alignment in the grammar of Coastal Marind

Bruno Olsson

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


    Speakers of Coastal Marind, a Papuan language of the Anim family, use a special inflectional form of the verb to signal that the state of affairs that the verb describes is outside the addressee's current focus of attention. A central claim of the paper is that speakers use this verb form, which I call the Absconditive, to signal that the addressee should realign their attention to achieve shared access to the state of affairs. The paper describes the function of this attentional-epistemic grammatical category and provides examples of its use, mostly drawn from video recordings of face-to-face interaction. I also contrast the Absconditive with constructions with related functions, such as the use of morphology expressing information-structural notions (narrow focus), and a verb form that appears to express shared access to a referent.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)136-155
    JournalOpen Linguistics
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 2019


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