Whose Here and Whose There? Double Perspective and the Lexicogrammar of Social Cognition
Who’s here and who’s there? Whose here and whose there? Reckoning with the existence of multiple perspectives is something we do constantly, whether in adjusting our mental calendars and maps for Abralin lectures or engaging in ‘audience design’ with our interlocutors while speaking. In this talk I trace a growing body of research on how grammars and structured lexical sets support the taking of dual perspectives across a number of domains: time, kinship, space, knowledge and attention. I will draw particularly on phenomena found in their most striking form in the languages of Australia, New Guinea and South America. Our recent but accelerating understanding of how double perspective works in language reflects a growing recognition of the role of social cognition in the evolution of linguistic structures, and the increasing deployment of new language documentation methods, particularly the use of video to capture context and attentional cues.