Volume 25, Issue 1
  • ISSN 0929-998X
  • E-ISSN: 1569-9765
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This paper analyses a set of exchanges between members of Australia’s Indigenous Western Desert culture, in the Pitjantjatjara dialect of the Western Desert language. The analyses are designed to illustrate how social relations in the culture are enacted with resources for interpersonal meaning in the language. The paper begins with a brief overview of social and linguistic theory underpinning the analyses. This is followed by a survey of Pitjantjatjara language resources for structuring exchanges, and for realising exchange moves in the grammar of clauses and the tones on which they are spoken. An overview of the Western Desert kinship system is then followed by analyses of five extended exchanges, that show how these resources are deployed to enact various types of kin relations. They illustrate some of the elaborate ways that Western Desert speakers negotiate their relationships and social goals, within the framework of their community’s kinship traditions.


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