Exploring the logophoric continuum


Logophoricity has been discussed in the literature for nearly half a century (Hagège, 1974; Clements, 1975). However, as stated by Nikitina (2019), the phenomenon of logophoricity is not yet well understood. We contend that only through comprehensive studies of spoken language corpora from West African languages will we achieve an accurate conceptualization of logophoric languages: forms, functions, and distribution. By separating logophoric functions from logophoric forms, we can look beyond the expected uses of logophorics in discourse reports to other constructions within and across languages.

Preliminary results from a corpus of West African languages show that so-called “pure logophoric languages” (Culy, 1994: 1060) with fully dedicated logophoric pronouns are rare, if they even exist. Rather, those depicted as being “mixed” are frequent. For instance, Tikar, one of Culy’s examples of a pure language, is shown by Voll (in prep) to have pronouns of logophoric function that have “other” non-logophoric uses. Furthermore, even in a language like Wan which has a fully-dedicated singular logophoric pronoun, we see that the plural logophoric pronoun is used anaphorically in subordinate clauses.

Curnow (2002) also challenges Culy’s delineation of pure versus mixed logophoric languages; in this panel we expand upon this notion of logophoric in opposition to nonlogophoric functions. Figure 1 approximates four of the languages included in our corpus with their relative positions along a newly proposed continuum:

For this panel, we invite papers on logophoric phenomena, including grammatical marking of both reported speaker and reported addressee. We encourage potential participants to discuss how logophoric forms fit into the language as a whole. Additionally, papers of interest might discuss possible sources for and/or extensions of logophoric forms to related functions, such as anaphora, reflexives, co-reference, emphatics, clausal complements, number asymmetry, or demonstratives.

22 Sep, 2021 — 24 Sep, 2021
Università degli Studi di Napoli “L’Orientale”



Nikitina (2020)
(). Logophoricity and shifts of perspective: New facts and a new account. Functions of Language, 27(1). 78–99. https://doi.org/10.1075/fol.20001.nik
Hagège (1974)
(). Les pronoms logophoriques. Bulletin de la Société de Linguistique de Paris, 69(1). 287–310.
Curnow (2002)
(). Three types of verbal logophoricity in African languages. Studies in African linguistics, 31(1/2). 1–26. Retrieved from https://journals.flvc.org/sal/article/view/107351
Culy (1994)
(). Aspects of logophoric marking. Linguistics, 32(6). 1055–1094. https://doi.org/10.1515/ling.1994.32.6.1055
Clements (1975)
(). The logophoric pronoun in Ewe: Its role in discourse. Journal of West African Languages, 10. 141–177. Retrieved from https://main.journalofwestafricanlanguages.org/index.php/downloads/download/29-volume1002/122-the-logophoric-pronoun-in-ewe-its-role-in-discourse
Subject Languages:
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Rebecca Paterson
Rebecca Paterson
Postdoctoral Researcher

My research interests include field linguistics, grammatical description, and translation.

Abbie Hantgan‑Sonko
Abbie Hantgan‑Sonko

Post-doctoral research fellow of the ERC project Speechreporting.
Ph.D. in African lingistics from Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana.

Rebecca Voll
Rebecca Voll