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Embedded Direct Speech and Shifting Indexicals in Semitic

Lutz Edzard

Pages 275 - 290


Ethio-Semitic languages, notably Amharic, and marginally also Akkadian, Arabic, and further Central Semitic languages, embed direct speech, or rather use direct speech, in syntactical context, where most other languages would use subordinate clauses. This kind of embedding can entail “shifting indexicals”, i.e. the reference to one and the same person with different persons in the verbal and pronominal system, even within one and the same phrase. This typologically not too frequent feature can also be found in Older Germanic, Slovenian, Japanese, and Korean. In this paper, I attempt both a descriptive and a formal analysis of this phenomenon.



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