Complexity in Egophoric Marking: From Agents to Attitude Holders

Henrik Bergqvist 1  and Dominique Knuchel 2
  • 1 Stockholm University, , Stockholm, Sweden
  • 2 University of Bern, , Bern, Switzerland


The present paper considers attested variation found in egophoric marking systems in order to discuss the role of such variation for the defining features of egophoric marking viz. a speech-act participant's epistemic authority subject to his/her involvement in an event. Austin Hale's (1980) pioneering description of egophoric marking in Kathmandu Newar (called "conjunct/disjunct" by Hale) has largely shaped our conception of what such systems look like, but in recent years, research on comparable systems has revealed that egophoric marking systems vary with respect to every purportedly defining feature of such systems. The one remaining variable that appears constant is the epistemic authority of the speech-act participants. When attempting to analyze and compare egophoric marking, one should consider all relevant cross-linguistic variation in order to determine what features are defeasible, and which ones are not. In this paper we explore the range of participant-roles that can be associated with egophoric marking focusing on "secondary" egophoric markers that map onto undergoers, affected participants, and the attitudes of the speech-act participants. It will become clear that these less prototypical instances of egophoric marking bridge such systems to a seemingly unrelated grammatical constructions, known as "ethical datives".

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