Publication details [#68307]

Morady Moghaddam, Mostafa and Seyyed Ali Ostovar-Namaghi. 2021. Metapragmatics in indirect reports: The degree of reflexivity. Pragmatics 32 (3) : 381–402.
Publication type
Article in journal
Publication language
Language as a subject
Journal DOI


This study attempts to describe how metapragmatic devices can exert change in indirect reporting. This was achieved through the analysis of naturally occurring indirect reports during interaction. Specifically, indirect reports were extracted from a series of expert talks (≈800 minutes) broadcast by Iranian national TV. The analysis of these expert talks showed cases of communicative ‘know-hows’, where Persian speakers reflectively managed the dialogue in terms of their interpretation of the original utterance. Accordingly, Persian speakers negotiated the degree of reflexivity by changing the verb of saying and by adhering to specific syntactic markers. Thus, contrary to previous research, the present study revealed that Persian indirect reports can benefit from some syntactic markers to show that speakers do not perfectly adhere to the pragmatic force of the original speaker’s utterance. By contrast, Persian speakers use classes of markers, or contextualisation cues (Gumperz 1982), to show their control over the utterances. These markers are generally used to indicate politeness, uncertainty, and summarisation in Persian indirect reports. Such markers can distinguish indirect reports in Persian from those of other languages such as English.