Pointing Out Directions in Murrinhpatha.

Pointing Out Directions in Murrinhpatha,” by Joe Blythe, Kinngirri Carmelita Mardigan, Mawurt Ernest Perdjert, and Hywel Stoakes (Open Linguistics 2.1: 132–159), is very cool; here’s the abstract:

Rather than using abstract directionals, speakers of the Australian Aboriginal language Murrinhpatha make reference to locations of interest using named landmarks, demonstratives and pointing. Building on a culturally prescribed avoidance for certain placenames, this study reports on the use of demonstratives, pointing and landmarks for direction giving. Whether or not pointing will be used, and which demonstratives will be selected is determined partly by the relative epistemic incline between interlocutors and partly by whether information about a location is being sought or being provided. The reliance on pointing for the representation of spatial vectors requires a construal of language that includes the visuo-corporal modality.

And the entire paper is available free at that link — hooray for Creative Commons!


  1. […] Hat reports on how speakers of the Aboriginal language of Murrinhpatha point out […]

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