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BY-NC-ND 3.0 license Open Access Published by De Gruyter Open Access May 16, 2016

Pointing Out Directions in Murrinhpatha

  • Joe Blythe , Kinngirri Carmelita Mardigan , Mawurt Ernest Perdjert and Hywel Stoakes
From the journal Open Linguistics


Rather than using abstract directionals, speakers of the Australian Aboriginal language Murrinhpatha make reference to locations of interest using named landmarks, demonstratives and pointing. Building on a culturally prescribed avoidance for certain placenames, this study reports on the use of demonstratives, pointing and landmarks for direction giving. Whether or not pointing will be used, and which demonstratives will be selected is determined partly by the relative epistemic incline between interlocutors and partly by whether information about a location is being sought or being provided. The reliance on pointing for the representation of spatial vectors requires a construal of language that includes the visuo-corporal modality.


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Received: 2015-6-13
Accepted: 2016-2-11
Published Online: 2016-5-16

© 2016 Joe Blythe et al.

This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 3.0 License.

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