František Kratochvíl

Grammaticalization of engagement marking in Abui (Papuan)
František Kratochvíl
Palacký University Olomouc

Abui is a Papuan language belonging to the Timor-Alor-Pantar family of Eastern Indonesia. It possesses a remarkable deictic system which makes a three-way contrast (proximate-medial-distal) and allows an alternating viewpoint between the speaker and the addressee.

More generally, the trading of places between the speaker and addressee-viewpoint occurs within what has been conceptualized as alignment and more specifically stance, as formulated by DuBois 2007. The production of an utterance requires the speaker to choose how much knowledge is to be revealed to and expected from the addressee. That choice is always consequential and situates the speaker’s stance towards the utterance, reality, and the addressee.

Evans et al. (to appear a, b) have proposed a typology of a category that they label ‘engagement’. They define it as ‘the grammaticalised encoding of the relative mental directedness of speaker and addressee toward an entity or state or affairs’ (Evans et al. to appear-b). Our Abui data shows that while demonstrative roots grammaticalize into markers of modality, tense, etc., they retain their their ‘engagement’ value. Through grammaticalization, engagement has become associated with a range of grammatical categories.

We have previously discussed the diachronic development of adnominal demonstratives in Kratochvíl (2011a, 2011b), and Kratochvíl & Delpada (2015). In this paper, we focus on the grammaticalization of adverbial demonstratives, which have developed from markers of space into markers of modality while retaining their engagement-related values.

Du Bois, John. 2007. The stance triangle. In R. Englebretson (ed.), Stancetaking in discourse (pp. 139–182). Amsterdam: Benjamins.
Evans, Nicholas, Henrik Bergqvist & Lila San Roque. to appear (a). The Grammar of Engagement I: Framework and initial exemplification. Language and Cognition.
Evans, Nicholas, Henrik Bergqvist & Lila San Roque. to appear (b). The Grammar of Engagement II: Typology and diachrony. Language and Cognition.
Kratochvil, František. 2011a. Demonstratives as markers of stance: Evidence from Abui. Unpublished manuscript, Palacký University Olomouc.
Kratochvil, František. 2011b. Discourse-structuring functions of Abui demonstratives. In F. Ha Yap, K. Grunow-Hårsta & J. Wrona (eds.), Nominalization in Asian languages: Diachronic and typological perspectives (pp. 757–788). Amsterdam: Benjamins.
Kratochvíl, František, and Delpada, Benidiktus. 2015. Definiteness and specificity in Abui. In Proceedings of the Second International Workshop on Information Structure of Austronesian Languages, 179-208. Research Institute for Languages and Cultures of Asia and Africa, Tokyo University of Foreign Studies: Tokyo.