Perspective shift across modalities

Emar Maier, Markus Steinbach

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Languages offer various ways to present what someone said, thought, imagined, felt, and so on from their perspective. The prototypical example of a perspective-shifting device is direct quotation. In this review we define perspective shift in terms of indexical shift: A direct quotation like “Selena said, ‘Oh, I don't know.’” involves perspective shift because the first-person indexical ‘I’ refers to Selena, not to the actual speaker. We then discuss a variety of noncanonical modality-specific perspective-shifting devices: role shift in signed language, quotatives in spoken language, free indirect discourse in written language, and point-of-view shift in visual language. We show that these devices permit complex mixed forms of perspective shift which may involve nonlinguistic gestural as well as visual components.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)59-76
Number of pages18
JournalAnnual Review of Linguistics
Early online date4-Oct-2021
Publication statusPublished - Jan-2022

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