Alexandria Digital Research Library

Marking the Unexpected : Evidence from Navajo to Support a Metadiscourse Domain

Author:
Eisman, Kayla
Degree Grantor:
University of California, Santa Barbara. Linguistics
Degree Supervisor:
Marianne Mithun
Place of Publication:
[Santa Barbara, Calif.]
Publisher:
University of California, Santa Barbara
Creation Date:
2015
Issued Date:
2015
Topics:
Linguistics and Native American studies
Keywords:
Discourse
Navajo
Athabaskan
Pragmatics
Genres:
Dissertations, Academic and Online resources
Dissertation:
M.A.--University of California, Santa Barbara, 2015
Description:

In typological research on mirativity, discussion often centers on the relationship between mirativity, evidentiality, and epistemic modality (Chafe & Nichols 1987; DeLancey 1997, 2012; Aikhenvald 2004, 2012; Peterson 2010). However, in individual languages, speakers mobilize pragmatic extensions that may differentially blend the categorical distinctions. Athabaskan languages have played a particularly important role in this discussion (DeLancey 2001 cited in Peterson 2010) due to the presence of particles that are said to clearly encode mirativity independent of evidentiality, evidence that mirativity warrants a distinct grammatical category. This paper analyzes the function and distribution of the Navajo enclitic la as it is used by speakers in interaction, based on the Navajo Conversational Corpus (Mithun ed 2015 NSF-DEL project 0853598). In its most frequent use, la functions as an interrogative enclitic to mark information questions (Reichard 1951; Young & Morgan 1987; Willie 1996), however this same form may encode what has been described as mirativity. Like other miratives, la may mark surprise, counter-expectation, discovery, and even reported speech (DeLancey 1990, 1997, 2001; Aikhenvald 2004, 2012). Though the two are seemingly unrelated synchronically, a close examination of the pragmatic functions of these enclitics, as well as consideration of comparative Athabaskan evidence, shows that the two enclitics both provide metadiscourse commentary through contrastive focus on the unexpectedness of a proposition. These data contribute to the goal of better understanding how speakers mark new and surprising information in conversation (Aikhenvald 2004), and also support the interactional relevance of the semantic domain of expectation, subsuming both contrastive focus and surprise (Behrens 2012).

Physical Description:
1 online resource (39 pages)
Format:
Text
Collection(s):
UCSB electronic theses and dissertations
ARK:
ark:/48907/f3mp51gv
ISBN:
9781339218069
Catalog System Number:
990045865320203776
Rights:
Inc.icon only.dark In Copyright
Copyright Holder:
Kayla Eisman
File Description
Access: Public access
Eisman_ucsb_0035N_12600.pdf pdf (Portable Document Format)