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Formulating Place, Common Ground, and a Moral Order in Lachixío Zapotec

Mark A. Sicoli
  • Department of Anthropology, University of Virginia,P.O. Box 400120, Charlottesville, VA 22904-4120, USA
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Published Online: 2016-06-23 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/opli-2016-0009


People make reference to places in the variable formulations afforded by their languages and to multiple ends that in addition to picking out a referent, simultaneously build conceptual common ground about seen and unseen landscapes, including moral stances about the social geography. This paper examines the different ways that Lachixío Zapotec speakers of Oaxaca, Mexico, formulate and interpret place references in the dialogic narratives of their conversations. I examine sequences of interaction within stories that emerged in conversations as joint social actions. These sequences include both speakers’ place formulations and addressees’ responses that publically display their uptake and stances toward the references. I describe resources of the Lachixío Zapotec language for referencing place and show how place references are entangled with person references, references to historical events, and participants’ moral stances toward such references. Through examining references to locations within sequences of conversational story telling we gather some evidence for how conceptual common ground and moral value is developed through the step-wise progression of turn-taking and how stances about places come to be culturally shared or contested between interlocutors dialogically.

Keywords: place reference; landscape; conversation; narrative; morality; common ground; turn-taking; stance; Zapotec; Otomanguean


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About the article

Received: 2015-06-11

Accepted: 2016-01-25

Published Online: 2016-06-23

Citation Information: Open Linguistics, Volume 2, Issue 1, ISSN (Online) 2300-9969, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/opli-2016-0009.

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© 2016 Mark A. Sicoli. This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 3.0 License. BY-NC-ND 3.0

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