LINGUIST List 19.1289|
Wed Apr 16 2008
Diss: Disc Analysis/Pragmatics: Hintz: 'Past Tense Forms and their ...'
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Past Tense Forms and their Functions in South Conchucos Quechua: Time, evidentiality, discourse structure, and affect
Message 1: Past Tense Forms and their Functions in South Conchucos Quechua: Time, evidentiality, discourse structure, and affect
From: Diane Hintz <diane_hintzsil.org>
Subject: Past Tense Forms and their Functions in South Conchucos Quechua: Time, evidentiality, discourse structure, and affect
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Institution: University of California, Santa Barbara
Program: Linguistics Department
Dissertation Status: Completed
Degree Date: 2007
Author: Diane M. Hintz
Dissertation Title: Past Tense Forms and their Functions in South Conchucos Quechua: Time, evidentiality, discourse structure, and affect
Subject Language(s): Quechua, Southern Conchucos Ancash (qxo)
Willem F.H. Adelaar
Sandra A. Thompson
Characterizations of tense in language generally focus on placement in
time. This study demonstrates that tense forms in South Conchucos Quechua
(SCQ) not only place past situations in time, they do much more. The
research centers on discovering why one tense form, rather than another, is
chosen at a given point in discourse.
The data studied consist of over five hours of naturally occurring spoken
language. In depth analysis is presented of four narrative segments, chosen
for the richness of tense variation they display. While the data are
primarily examined qualitatively, quantitative and prosodic analyses also
contribute to understanding the uses of the tense forms.
The analysis of the data reveals a multi-faceted answer to the research
question. Several SCQ tense forms place events relative to each other in
past time. Choices between two of the past tense forms are further
determined by evidentiality. That is, one form is used when the source of
evidence is firsthand or when the situation is discussed from the speaker's
perspective, while another is used with secondhand information or when the
speaker is giving a reported perspective.
Additionally, as happens in other languages with grammaticized degrees of
temporal remoteness (Fleischman 1989), tense is used metaphorically to
express distance along other axes. In SCQ, the temporal expression of
distance has been co extended to indicate narrative structure and to
express affect. SCQ tense forms placing events in the more distant past are
used with the parts of the narrative that are peripheral (the orientation,
side remarks and resolution) and that convey little affect from the
speaker. Tense forms placing events closer to the present are used with the
parts of the narrative that are critical to the storyline (the abstract,
complicating action and climax) and convey positive or very positive
affect. A tense form that places events in the more distant past conveys
negative affect in these central parts.
This work shows that inflectional tense, which might be expected to do no
more than encode sentence-level temporal distinctions, can be used in
spontaneous speech for functions well beyond the sentence.
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