Pointing out directions in Murrinhpatha

Joseph Blythe, Kinngirri Carmelita Mardigan, Mawurt Ernest Perdjert, Hywel Stoakes

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6 Citations (Scopus)
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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.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)132-159
Number of pages28
JournalOpen Linguistics
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 16 May 2016

Bibliographical note

Copyright the Author(s) 2016. Version archived for private and non-commercial use with the permission of the author/s and according to publisher conditions. For further rights please contact the publisher.


  • multimodal utterances
  • indexical reference
  • name avoidance
  • sequence organization
  • gesture and pointing
  • collaborative reference
  • epistemics
  • demonstratives

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    Blythe, J., Mardigan, K. C., Perdjert, M. E., & Stoakes, H. (2016). Pointing out directions in Murrinhpatha. Open Linguistics, 2(1), 132-159. https://doi.org/10.1515/opli-2016-0007