The non-visible marker in Dyirbal

Dixon, R.M.W. (2014) The non-visible marker in Dyirbal. In: Aikhenvald, Alexandra Y., and Dixon, R.M.W., (eds.) The Grammar of Knowledge: a cross-linguistic typology. Explorations in Linguistic Typology, 7 . Oxford University Press, Oxford, UK, pp. 171-189.

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[Extract] In the Dyirbal language community of north-east Australia there was a convention-nay, a requirement-of being at all times maximally specific. If a snake is referred to, one should say which type of snake-whether the deadly brown snake, bayi walguy, or the black snake, bayi gajamay, or whatever. There is, it is true, a generic term bayi wadam 'snake' but this is only used if the identity cannot be determined; say, if only the shadow of a snake is seen, or just its tail. Everyone in the community was familiar with the various snake species (some highly dangerous, others harmless). Identification should always be made, and be stated.

A verb 'know' is lacking from Dyirbal, simply because it would be too vague. Whereas a speaker of English can say just I know where the money is hidden, in Dyirbal there is a requirement to say how one knows this-perhaps 'My father told me where the money is hidden' or 'I saw the money being hidden.' (There are, however, adjectives meaning 'don't know'; ŋañum 'not familiar with a person or place' and juru 'don't know where someone is, never heard a particular story, etc.'.)

Item ID: 32376
Item Type: Book Chapter (Research - B1)
ISBN: 978-0-19-870131-6
Funders: Australian Research Council (ARC), Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, James Cook University (JCU), Cairns Institute, James Cook University (JCU)
Projects and Grants: ARC Dicovery Project DP110103207 "The grammar of knowledge: a cross-linguistic view of evidentiality and epistemological expressions"
Date Deposited: 03 Jun 2014 06:04
FoR Codes: 20 LANGUAGE, COMMUNICATION AND CULTURE > 2004 Linguistics > 200408 Linguistic Structures (incl Grammar, Phonology, Lexicon, Semantics) @ 100%
SEO Codes: 97 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 970120 Expanding Knowledge in Language, Communication and Culture @ 100%
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