Journal of Pragmatics, 187, 90-114

In this article we examine displays of epistemic status and stance among long-term Anglo-Australian residents of remote communities through a case study of a 2-h interaction by four men who have demonstrated sophisticated knowledge of locations in their region. We show how equal access to knowledge of places is oriented to, as well as how differences in rights to authoritatively claim knowledge emerge in disputes over details of locations which are resolved when it is established that one member can provide more specific or up-to-date knowledge. This study not only contributes to understanding epistemic management practices in contexts where there is a high degree of shared knowledge, but also grounds the exploration of new insights into the ways in which the epistemics of referring to places appear to diverge from what has been described for referring to persons.

Language Documentation and Description 20, 313-351

This paper presents a geospatial framework for the documentation and analysis of naturally-occurring locational points in interaction. This novel approach aims to provide a set of methods and procedures for interrogating geographically-enriched interactional data. GPS and GIS metadata and satellite imagery are brought to bear on video-recorded multiparty interactions to situate pointing gestures within the broader topographic setting, allowing the directionality of points to be determined to within a few degrees. The methods illustrated in this paper primarily aim to assist research on the relationship between language, gesture, and spatial cognition. By examining and comparing naturally-occurring locational points produced by speakers of typologically different languages (namely English, Gija, Murrinhpatha, and Jaru) this paper demonstrates how a geospatial approach may facilitate systematic comparisons of pointing styles across languages, contexts, and cultures, and support investigations into universals of human conduct.

International Journal of Bilingualism, 1-27

Language contact in the Yaruman community of Western Australia has led to prevalent bilingual practices between the endangered language Jaru and the creole language Kriol. This study examines ordinary conversations in the community and investigates whether the observable bilingual practices are interactionally relevant, and whether codemixing has led to the emergence of a conventionalised mixed language. The research is based on a qualitative analysis of bilingual speech in natural conversation. The approach combines the methodological framework of interactional linguistics with an analysis of the grammatical structures of conversational data. The analysed data consist of two hours and thirty minutes of transcribed video recordings, comprising 13 casual multi-party conversations involving all generations in the Yaruman community. The recordings were made using lapel microphones and two high-definition cameras. Bilingual Jaru–Kriol speakers use codeswitching as an interactional resource for a range of conversational activities. In many cases, however, speakers’ code choices are not interactionally relevant. Instead, codemixing is often oriented to as a normative way of speaking and participants exploit their full linguistic repertoire by relatively freely combining elements from both languages. There are also signs of morphological fusion in the mixed speech of younger Jaru speakers, who more frequently combine Kriol verb structure and Jaru nominal morphology. However, this morphological split is not fully conventionalised and variation is still substantial.

In Ono, Yoshi & Sandy Thompson (Eds) (eds.), The pragmatics of ‘Noun Phrase’ across languages: an emergent unit in interaction, 211–235. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

Noun phrases have long been a contested category in studies of Australian language grammars. In this chapter I use a corpus of conversations in the Northern Australian language Garrwa to show how the syntactic and prosodic design of referring expressions consisting of a demonstrative nominal and a common nominal is highly sensitive to the place in and relevance to the unfolding interactional sequence in which the referring expression occurs. In particular, I show that the design of referential nominal expressions in Garrwa conversations display a systematic relationship between more phrase-like constructions and smooth, progressive talk, and less phrase-like formulations and sequential and

topical boundaries.

In Simeon Floyd, Giovanni Rossi & N.J. Enfield (eds.), Getting others to do things: A pragmatic typology of recruitments, 231–280. Berlin: Language Science Press. 10.5281/zenodo.4018382.

This chapter presents a first survey of recruitment moves and their responses in informal face-to-face conversation conducted in the Australian Aboriginal language Murrinhpatha. The systemic nature of the survey reveals a hierarchically governed array of responses, including structurally preferred compliant responses, as well as a range of dispreferred refusal formats, which either overtly or implicitly reject the recruitment proposal. 

Language Documentation and Description 17. 134–141.

Language Documentation and Description 17. 142-149.

Joe Blythe, Rod Gardner, Ilana Mushin, Lesley Stirling (2018)

Research on Language and Social Interaction, 51(2), 145-170. 10.1080/08351813.2018.1449441

Building on earlier Conversation Analytic work on turn-taking and response mobilization, we use video-recorded multiparty conversations to consider in detail how Australian Aboriginal participants in conversation select a next speaker in turns that are grammatically designed as questions. We focus in particular on the role of a range of embodied behaviours, such as gaze direction, body orientation and pointing, to select – or avoid selecting – a next speaker. We use data from four remote Aboriginal communities to also explore the claims from ethnographic research that Aboriginal conversations typically occur in non-focused participation frames. Data are in Murrinhpatha, Garrwa, Gija and Jaru with English translations.

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