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Himalayan Linguistics is a free peer-reviewed web journal and archive devoted to the study of the languages of the Himalayas.

Himalayan Linguistics

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Direct Speech as a Rhetorical Style in Chantyal

In this paper, I will elaborate somewhat on Slobin's notion of 'thinking for speaking' by introducing the construct of 'rhetorical style', by which I mean a set of related constructions employed to achieve a particular discourse effect. Just as the presence of a particular grammatical category may impel speakers to organize their thinking to meet the demands of the linguistic encoding of that category on-line, so the use of a given rhetorical style may require similar adjustments in thinking for speaking.

The goals of this paper are threefold. First I will present data, drawn primarily from narrative discourses, on the use of direct quotes in Chantyal, a Tibeto-Burman language of Nepal. In Chantyal, direct quotes are conveyed by a set of constructions which I will refer to collectively as 'quotatives': quotatives always include a form of the verb 'say' together with a complement of 'say' presented as a direct quote. Second, I will argue that quotatives are used in Chantyal to affect the 'direct speech style', a mode of exploiting quotatives to further narrative goals that in many other languages are achieved by means other than quotatives. And third, I will discuss the direct speech style as a 'rhetorical style', and go on to present an overview of rhetorical styles, their uses, their status as areal features, and their diachronic developments.