Volume 41, Issue 4
  • ISSN 0378-4177
  • E-ISSN: 1569-9978
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Typological discussions of mirativity often consider the relationship between mirativity and evidentiality ( DeLancey 1997 , 2001 ; Aikhenvald 2004 ). However, in interaction speakers mobilize pragmatic extensions of miratives in ways that defy specific categorization. This study analyzes the function and distribution of the Navajo enclitic lá in a Navajo Conversational Corpus ( Mithun ed 2015 NSF-DEL project 0853598). The enclitic most frequently functions as an interrogative in information questions ( Young & Morgan 1987 ), but it also encodes mirative senses including surprise, counter-expectation, discovery, and reported speech. Though the two seem synchronically unrelated, an examination of the pragmatic functions, as well as consideration of comparative Athabaskan evidence, links the polysemous enclitics as metadiscourse markers signaling contrastive focus on the unexpectedness of a proposition. These data support the interactional relevance of the semantic domain of expectation, subsuming contrastive focus and surprise ( Behrens 2012 ).


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  • Article Type: Research Article
Keyword(s): Athabaskan; corpora; discourse; mirativity; Navajo; semantics and pragmatics
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