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Self-association in Murriny Patha talk-in-interaction


Blythe,  Joe
Language and Cognition Group, MPI for Psycholinguistics, Max Planck Society;
Multimodal Interaction, MPI for Psycholinguistics, Max Planck Society;
Human Sociality and Systems of Language Use, MPI for Psycholinguistics, Max Planck Society;
Language documentation and data mining;

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Blythe, J. (2010). Self-association in Murriny Patha talk-in-interaction. In I. Mushin, & R. Gardner (Eds.), Studies in Australian Indigenous Conversation [Special issue] (pp. 447-469). Australian Journal of Linguistics. doi:10.1080/07268602.2010.518555.

When referring to persons in talk-in-interaction, interlocutors recruit the particular referential expressions that best satisfy both cultural and interactional contingencies, as well as the speaker’s own personal objectives. Regular referring practices reveal cultural preferences for choosing particular classes of reference forms for engaging in particular types of activities. When speakers of the northern Australian language Murriny Patha refer to each other, they display a clear preference for associating the referent to the current conversation’s participants. This preference for Association is normally achieved through the use of triangular reference forms such as kinterms. Triangulations are reference forms that link the person being spoken about to another specified person (e.g. Bill’s doctor). Triangulations are frequently used to associate the referent to the current speaker ( father), to an addressed recipient (your uncle) or co-present other (this bloke’s cousin). Murriny Patha speakers regularly associate key persons to themselves when making authoritative claims about items of business and important events. They frequently draw on kinship links when attempting to bolster their epistemic position. When speakers demonstrate their relatedness to the event’s protagonists, they ground their contribution to the discussion as being informed by appropriate genealogical connections (effectively, ‘I happen to know something about that. He was after all my own uncle’).