Epistemic Deixis in Kalapalo

Ellen B. Basso

Abstract

Speakers of Kalapalo, a Southern Carib language spoken in central Brazil, use a complex set of grammatical particles to reference epistemic judgments. Using data from narratives, hereditary leader’s ritual communication, ritual songs, conversations, and didactic speech, I use deictic and stance concepts to understand the semantics of this system. A focus on discursive practice illustrates how various intersubjective stance processes are foregrounded by epistemic marking. The paper concludes with discussion of issues requiring further research.

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