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Title: Epistemicity, social identity and politeness marking : a pragmatic analysis of Bajjika verbal inflections
Authors: Kashyap, AK
Yap, FH 
Keywords: Future tense
Social status
Politeness strategies
Interactional pragmatics
Issue Date: 2017
Publisher: Mouton De Gruyter
Source: Linguistics, 2017, v. 55, no. 3, p. 413-450 How to cite?
Journal: Linguistics 
Abstract: This article examines the pragmatic uses of the verbal inflections in Bajjika, a Bihari language within the "eastern" group of the Indo-Aryan family. Previous studies have shown that Bajjika has a very complex system of verb-agreement, which is typical of Bihari languages but atypical of other Indo-Aryan languages. Of particular interest here is that Bajjika allows a maximum of two person-agreement slots in its verbal morphology: the first slot for markers that coindex with nominative participants, and the second slot for those markers that coindex with non-nominative participants as well as third person referents that are outside the discourse context (cf. Kashyap 2012, The pragmatic principles of agreement in Bajjika verbs. Journal of Pragmatics 44(13). 1868-1887). Our analysis, based on conversational data of Bajjika, reveals that the person-agreement system in Bajjika also registers the social standing of the interlocutors and third person referents along factors reflecting social hierarchy (e.g., age, rank, profession, and social class). Additionally, the non-nominative person-agreement markers (involving second and third but not first person reference) combine with future tense markers to yield epistemic effects (e.g., pragmatic softening or hedging) that contribute to the negotiation of face-needs among discourse participants and discourse referents. These findings have implications for the relationship between deictic elements (e.g., tense and person-agreement markers) and politeness strategies, and may shed light on the pragmatic uses of verbal inflections in other Bihari languages as well as other languages with verbal morphology that encode deictic information.
ISSN: 0024-3949
DOI: 10.1515/ling-2017-0002
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