Mixed viewpoints in factual and fictive discourse in Catalan Sign Language Narratives




This  chapter  is  based  on  in-depth  qualitative  analysis  of  original  elicited and naturalistic narratives from 20 native signers of Catalan Sign Language. Signed  languages  are  especially  interesting  for  the  study  of  mixed  viewpoints, since their grammar is characterized by viewpoint shift (Herrmann and Steinback 2012). They also lend themselves particularly well for the study of conversational constructions,  such  as  direct  discourse,  as  they  are  typically  used  in  situated intersubjective interaction. We  focus  on  the  use  of  role  shift  to  set  up  non-genuine  quotes  in  Catalan  Sign Language  narratives.  In  particular,  we  examine  multifunctional  or  polysemic direct  discourse,  which  is  characterized  by  (mixed)  viewpoints.  In  signed  languages  direct  discourse  may  serve  to  represent  a  referent’s  utterances,  actions, thoughts, emotions, attitudes and source of information. We show that despite its complexity, constructed action, which involves multiple perspectives, is a central component  of  Catalan  Sign  Language  narratives.  In  fact,  although  alternative descriptive constructions do exist, native signers consider constructed action as the most unmarked (cf. Quinto-Pozos 2007). We further propose that the structure of mixed viewpoints in narratives – and in grammar – mimics the mode in which language  is  mostly  used,  namely  intersubjective  conversation,  characterized  by constant perspective shifting.

En: Dancygier, B; LU, W. y Verhagen, A. (eds.), Viewpoint and the fabric of meaning: form and use of viewpoint tools across languages and modalities (2016).

Berlín: Gruyter Mouton, 2016

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