Deixis in narrative: a study of Kamaiurá, a Tupí- Guaraní language of Upper Xingu, Brazil

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The current paper describes the deictic system of Kamaiurá, a language of the Tupí-Guaraní family. The Kamaiurá system of deictic demonstratives and adverbials has a high degree of complexity, including at least 17 different forms, of which several have different functions. The system codes four levels of Participant deixis, with proximal, medial, distal and far distal deixis. Forms can also code anaphora and highly specialized locations of the referent, such as 'moving away' and 'located beside something'. A further peculiar and unusual characteristic of the Kamaiurá system is the coding of Modal and Evidential deixis, which is found among the forms marking far distal deixis. Our study has two foci: the first part describes the system in its independent or exophoric use, and this part is based on deep interviews with native speakers and a deixis elicitation study. The second part of the paper represents the core of our study. Here, we investigate the uses of the deictic system in a recorded frog story, looking at anaphoric and cataphoric usages of the forms as well as how they are used to mark topic and focus in the narrative discourse. The text is very rich in deictic forms, and out of the 17 different forms recorded for Kamaiurá, 9 occur in our frog story. We notice a tendency where the hierarchy of increasing distance from the ego in the independent forms is transferred into increasing focus of the narrative. Epistemic modality of the independent forms is used to mark uncertainty in the narrative, i.e., to indicate lack of terms for a specific item, whereas anaphoric deixis of the independent forms marks general reference in the narrative. 1 *Lund University, **University of Brasilia. Gerd Carling has written the text and worked with coding and analysis of all data, Sandra Cronhamn has worked with recording, transcription, coding, and analysis of narrative data (chapter 3), Wary Kamaiurá has worked with transcription and coding of narrative data (chapter 3), and served as main language consultant, and Elis Jarl Skute has worked with recording of elicitation study (which serves as background to chapter 2) and compilation of deixis data. Ana Suelly Arruda Câmara Cabral and Ariel Pheula Couto Silva have served as consultants on grammar and analysis of Kamaiurá and related Tupí-Guaraní languages. Vera da Silva Sinha has contributed to the fieldwork for the narrative and as discussant for coding sessions, Ceni Kamaiurá has contributed as language consultant for the elicitation study.


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Ämnesklassifikation (UKÄ) – OBLIGATORISK

  • Språkstudier
Sidor (från-till)13-48
TidskriftRevista Brasilieira de Linguística Antropológica
Utgåva nummer1
StatusPublished - 2017
Peer review utfördJa