Marking the unexpected
Evidence from Navajo to support a metadiscourse domain
Typological discussions of mirativity often consider the relationship between mirativity and evidentiality (DeLancey 1997, 2001; Aikhenvald 2004). However, in interaction speakers mobilize pragmatic extensions of miratives in ways that defy specific categorization. This study analyzes the function and distribution of the Navajo enclitic lá in a Navajo Conversational Corpus (Mithun ed 2015 NSF-DEL project 0853598). The enclitic most frequently functions as an interrogative in information questions (Young & Morgan 1987), but it also encodes mirative senses including surprise, counter-expectation, discovery, and reported speech. Though the two seem synchronically unrelated, an examination of the pragmatic functions, as well as consideration of comparative Athabaskan evidence, links the polysemous enclitics as metadiscourse markers signaling contrastive focus on the unexpectedness of a proposition. These data support the interactional relevance of the semantic domain of expectation, subsuming contrastive focus and surprise (Behrens 2012).
Keywords: discourse, semantics and pragmatics, Navajo, Athabaskan, mirativity, corpora
Published online: 30 March 2018
[ p. 869 ]References
Barss, Andrew, Ken Hale, Ellavina Tsosie Perkins & Margaret Speas
Bianchi, Valentina, Giuliano Bocci & Silvio Crushina
Chafe, Wallace L.
Chafe, Wallace & Johanna Nichols
Chafe, Wallace L.
Du Bois, John, Stephan Schuetze-Coburn, Danae Paolina & Susanna Cumming
1993 Outline of discourse transcription. In Santa Barbara papers in linguistics, Vol. 4. Santa Barbara: University of California, Department of Linguistics; In Jane A. Edwards & Martin D. Lampert (eds.), Talking data: Transcription and coding methods for language research, 45–89. Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.
Elgin, Patricia Anne Suzette[ p. 870 ]
de Haan, Ferdinand
Heine, Bernd, Ulrike Claudi & Friederike Hünnemeyer
Holton, Gary & Olga Lovick
2013 What can revitalization work teach us about documentation? In Mihas, Elena, Bernard Perley, Gabriel Rei-Doval & Kathleen Wheatley (eds), Responses to language endangerment. In honor of Mickey Noonan. New directions in language documentation and language revitalization, 21–41. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.
Murray, Sarah E.
Myhill, John & Janet Zhiqun Xing
Olbertz, Hella[ p. 871 ]
2017. Rethinking mirativity: The expression and implication of surprise.
Plungian, Vladimir A.
de Reuse, Willem Joseph
Rice, Keren D.
San Roque, Lila, Simeon Floyd & Elisabeth Norcliffe
Slobin, Dan I & Ayhan A. Aksu
Watters, John Robert
Willie, Mary Ann
Young, Robert W. & William Morgan