Linguistics: The second sense? Examining the language of sound in conversations with children
Dr Lila San Roque
Talking about perception is one way to calibrate private experiences with those of our companions, establishing and maintaining a shared sensory reality. This talk is about uses of perceptual language (e.g., verbs like hear and smell) in everyday conversation, with a focus on the representation of sonic experience and events in conversations involving children. I draw on interactional data from (US) English and from two languages of west-central Papua New Guinea, Duna and Kaluli, to describe semantic and pragmatic features of perception verbs, evidential markers, and onomatopoeic terms. In all three language communities, references to sound can be incorporated into particular social actions and routines, suggesting different ways that talk about perception can contribute to a developing understanding of both lexical meaning and the social world.
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