Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Navigate here

Open Linguistics: Topical Issue "Place reference in conversation"

 ◄ Back to journal



Lila San Roque
N.J. Enfield


Identifying and communicating about places is fundamental to how we navigate the physical and social world, and much previous work has explored the semantics and grammar of reference to place and space. With this topical issue we complement that literature by focusing on references to places as observed in informal social interaction in languages from around the world. Many of the studies presented form part of a project funded by the European Research Council titled ‘Human Sociality and Systems of Language Use’ in which we have been examining the pragmatics of references to places/locations/settings in natural conversation. The papers explore a range of issues concerning the pragmatics of reference to place and the relation of such references to social cognition and social functions. Authors base their findings and arguments on original video-recorded data collected during fieldwork in the Americas, Southeast Asia, Australia, Melanesia and elsewhere. The collection explores, from a range of angles, how and why we talk about, ask about, and identify places, and how this achieves communicative, social, and practical goals. This topical issue will be the first collection of work concerning place reference in spontaneous, multi-party speech.

‘Where’ questions and their responses in Duna (Papua New Guinea)
Lila San Roque

Pointing out directions in Murrinhpatha
Joe Blythe, Kinngirri Carmelita Mardigan, Mawurt Ernest Perdjert, Hywel Stoakes

Formulating place, common ground, and a moral order in Lachixío Zapotec
Mark A. Sicoli

Place reference in Kula conversation
Nicholas Williams