Ibridismo nell’espressione del discorso riportato in area indiana

Carlotta Viti
Dipartimento di Linguistica - Università di Pisa - Via Santa Maria 36 - 56126 Pisa (Italy)

Published 2008-01-16


The modern Indo-Aryan languages possess hybrid structures of reported speech. On the one hand, the recruitment of a subordinator signals the presence of indirect speech. On the other, the fact that first or second person deictic elements do not shift into third person anaphoric elements suggests the usage of direct speech. E.g. in the sentence The girli said that Ii have been sent by Candravat_, the first person pronoun I is co-referent with the main clause subject the girl. Such hybrid constructions cannot be wound up as aberrant forms because diachronically they are recorded since Old Indian, and synchronically they emerge in the whole Indian peninsula. Since they are also found in the adjacent Persian and Dravidian speech communities, hybrid structures of reported speech represent an isogloss of the Indian linguistic area, and are presumably due to the Dravidian substratum, where these constructions may receive a transparent motivation. The blend between direct and indirect speech can be considered a manifestation of the prevalence of parataxis over hypotaxis. Since the paratactic linkage of direct speech entertains a privileged relationship with spoken language, such a blend can be ultimately favoured by the prestige of the oral communicative mode with respect to the written communicative mode in the Indian cultural tradition.