Anthropology Seminar | Socialising knowledge: Children, language, and evidentiality in Duna conversations (Papua New Guinea) by Dr Lila San Roque.
Thursday 22nd April, 3 – 5pm via Zoom. Please contact Dr Ryan Schram for enquiries.
About a quarter of the world’s languages encode grammatical ‘evidentiality’ (Aikhenvald 2004), requiring speakers to indicate their source of knowledge for events, situations, and/or entities. Languages spoken in the Hela/Southern Highlands region of Papua New Guinea represent some of the most complex evidential systems we are aware of today. How might these meanings be incorporated into practices of language socialisation, including espoused attitudes towards knowledge and language development? To explore these questions I build on Schieffelin’s (1990) seminal work in the Kaluli/Bosavi community and on interactional data and commentary collected with the support of language consultants P. Kilapa, K. Kendoli, and K. Kenny in the Duna-speaking Kopiago area. In contexts such as question-answer sequences, the data illustrate how Duna caregivers can model a keen (but perhaps covert) attention to subjectivity and perspective in linguistic interactions with children. Caregiver choices about what to ask and when to challenge can guide the child’s appropriate expression of knowledge and ignorance regarding everyday activities.
About the Speaker
Lila San Roque is a lecturer of linguistics at the University of Sydney. She has conducted research among speakers of a language called Duna spoken in Hela Province, Papua New Guinea. Prior to taking up her position at USYD, she has worked at the Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics and at Radboud University in the Netherlands. She is especially interested in the languages of New Guinea, one of the most linguistically diverse areas on the planet, and in the ways we use language to encode and express perceptual and cognitive experience
Zoom Meeting*: https://uni-sydney.zoom.us/j/81963268265
The Rewapi school and surrounds. Photo supplied by speaker.