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Logophoric Discourse and First Person Reporting in Wan (West Africa)

From: Anthropological Linguistics
Volume 54, Number 3, Fall 2012
pp. 280-301 | 10.1353/anl.2012.0013



The distinction between direct and indirect reporting is commonly assumed to be a universal underlying principle of discourse representation. This article surveys a system of reporting that is based on an alternative principle. It argues that the choice of a reporting strategy in Wan (Mande, Côte d'Ivoire) depends not on the information properties of the report (form vs. content, de re vs. de dicto), but rather on discourse properties of the participants involved. The difference between discourse reporting in Wan and in European languages is related to a difference in the dominant means of transmitting knowledge (oral vs. written).

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