We always take in a certain perspective since we are located in a specific place and see the world through our own eyes. Small wonder, therefore, that perspective is crucial to the interpretation of language, too. Languages are equipped with a wide variety of linguistic means that involve perspective. Think of words like I and you, today and yesterday, come and go, but also more subtle ones like expressives and attitudinal particles. It is these expressions that anchor utterances to their contexts. While perspectival elements are most of the time used from the perspective of the speaker, they can also be used from the perspective of someone else, a possibility that is fully exploited in narratives.
The central aim of the ERC-funded project Unraveling the Language of Perspective is to deepen our understanding of perspective shifts. We focus on attitudinal particles, evaluative expressions, mood (subjunctive/optative), Free Indirect Discourse, and temporal expressions such as tense and aspect. We have a special interest in Ancient Greek, a language with a particularly rich perspective system.
The project is hosted by section Philosophy of Mind and Language (FFTR) at the Radboud University Nijmegen.