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Semi-Direct Speech In Typological Perspective

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Chapter Summary

Every language has some way of reporting what someone else has said. This chapter focuses on shift in personal deixis, which is a major property distinguishing direct and indirect speech reports. Suffice it to say that in many languages it is indeed the only way of telling direct and indirect speech apart - examples include Hatam, Abun, Nigerian Pidgin and Babungo. Speech report constructions with 'incomplete' person shift, also known as 'semi-direct' speech, are in fact a legitimate option in a number of languages, many of them spoken in the Highlands of New Guinea. The chapter provides a brief outline of speech reports in Manambu, a Ndu language from the Papuan area, which has both options for semi-direct speech. It considers further examples of semi-direct speech documented in the literature, and the conditions under which it is used. Finally, the chapter discusses the possibility of semi-direct speech constructions in English.

Keywords: direct speech; indirect speech; Manambu; Ndu language; personal deixis; semi-direct speech; speech report constructions



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