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Open Linguistics

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Pointing Out Directions in Murrinhpatha

Joe Blythe / Kinngirri Carmelita Mardigan / Mawurt Ernest Perdjert / Hywel Stoakes
Published Online: 2016-05-16 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/opli-2016-0007


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.

Keywords: Multimodal utterances; indexical reference; name avoidance; sequence organization; gesture and pointing; collaborative reference; epistemics; demonstratives


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About the article

Received: 2015-06-13

Accepted: 2016-02-11

Published Online: 2016-05-16

Citation Information: Open Linguistics, Volume 2, Issue 1, ISSN (Online) 2300-9969, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/opli-2016-0007.

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© 2016 Joe Blythe et al.. This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 3.0 License. BY-NC-ND 3.0

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