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Open Access Publications from the University of California


Himalayan Linguistics is a free peer-reviewed web journal and archive devoted to the study of the languages of the Himalayas. Since 2020 it includes the series Languages and Peoples of the Eastern Himalayan Region as the second issue of every volume.

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.