The syntax of reported speech: Towards a typology
Despite major recent advances, many aspects of speech reporting – including cross-linguistic variation in the syntax and semantics of the relevant constructions – remain largely underexplored. This situation has to do primarily with the general inapplicability of standard elicitation methods to phenomena rooted in discourse.
In this talk I introduce a research program that aims at a systematic investigation of properties of speech reporting constructions, focusing on African languages. I discuss three cross-linguistically rare phenomena that are characteristic of African languages: logophoricity, expression of mirativity in reported speech, and the use of quotative markers. I argue that in-depth corpus-based analysis of these phenomena undermines existing analyses of the syntax of reported speech, sheds new light on the expression of epistemic stance, and suggests new directions in the study of still underexplored constructions widely attested in European languages.