A Theory of Indexical Shift: Meaning, Grammar, and Crosslinguistic Variation

A Theory of Indexical Shift: Meaning, Grammar, and Crosslinguistic Variation

by Amy Rose Deal


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A comprehensive overview of the semantics and syntax of indexical shift that develops a constrained typology of the phenomenon across languages.

The phenomenon of indexical shift—whereby indexicals embedded in speech or attitude reports draw their meaning from an attitude event rather than the utterance context—has been reported in languages spanning five continents and at least ten language families. In this book, Amy Rose Deal offers a comprehensive overview of the semantics and syntax of indexical shift and develops a constrained typology of the phenomenon across languages—a picture of variation that is both rich enough to capture the known facts and restrictive enough to make predictions about currently unknown data points. Deal draws on studies of indexical shift in a broad range of languages, focusing especially on Nez Perce, Zazaki, Korean, and Uyghur.

Using new data from fieldwork, Deal presents an in-depth case study of indexical shift in the Nez Perce language, and uses this evidence to propose a novel theoretical approach based on the meaning and grammar of shifty operators. She explores several dimensions of variation related to indexical shift across and within languages, showing how the cross-linguistic patterns can be explained (and constrained) within the shifty operator view. Finally, she contrasts indexical shift with surface-similar phenomena, clarifying the controls needed to test the constrained typology on new data sets.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780262044189
Publisher: MIT Press
Publication date: 10/13/2020
Series: Linguistic Inquiry Monographs
Pages: 196
Product dimensions: 6.19(w) x 9.25(h) x 0.66(d)

About the Author

Amy Rose Deal is Associate Professor of Linguistics at the University of California, Berkeley, where she is also Affiliated Faculty in the Philosophy Department.

Table of Contents

Series Foreword xi

Preface xiii

1 Introduction 1

2 Indexicals and Operators: A Nez Perce Case Study 7

2.1 Analysis Types 9

2.1.1 The Quotation Analysis 9

2.1.2 The Nonindexical Analysis 14

2.1.3 The Partial Quotation Analysis 16

2.1.4 The Binding Analysis 19

2.1.5 The Context Pronoun Analysis 21

2.1.6 The Pragmatic Analysis 23

2.2 The Shifty Operator Theory of Indexical Shift 27

2.2.1 Meanings for Indexicals and Operators 28

2.2.2 Operators in Syntactic Structures 33

2.2.3 The Overwriting Nature of Context Shift 36

2.2.4 Conclusion to the Case Study 44

2.3 Epilogue: Operators beyond Nez Perce 45

3 Shifty Asymmetries 49

3.1 Dimensions of Variation 49

3.1.1 Which Verbs Are Involved in Shifting 49

3.1.2 Which Indexicals Shift (with Which Verbs) 52

3.1.3 How Much Optionality is Permitted in Indexical Shift 54

3.1.4 Which Indexicals Must Be Read De Se When Shifted 59

3.2 Deriving the Asymmetries 64

3.2.1 Regulating Which Indexicals Shift 64

3.2.2 The Effect of Verbs 68

3.2.3 Back to the De Se 70

4 Extending the Theory 77

4.1 Temporal Indexicals 78

4.2 Lexical Bundling 83

4.2.1 Verbs of Cognition and the Second Person 83

4.2.2 Temporal/Locative Bundling in Korean 87

4.3 Remarks on Single-Operator Analyses 89

4.4 Summary of Predictions 93

5 Beyond Indexical Shift 97

5.1 From Mixed Quotation to Free Indirect Discourse 98

5.2 Sign Language Role Shift 103

5.3 Fake Indexicals 104

5.4 Indexiphors 107

5.5 Closing Remarks 120

6 Conclusions 123

A Remarks on Shift Together 125

B Nez Perce Grammatical Background 133

Notes 141

References 159

Index 173

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