You are here: Home Publications 'We’ as social categorization in Cha’palaa: A language of Ecuador

'We’ as social categorization in Cha’palaa: A language of Ecuador

Floyd, S. (2014). 'We’ as social categorization in Cha’palaa: A language of Ecuador. In T.-S. Pavlidou (Ed.), Constructing collectivity: 'We' across languages and contexts (pp. 135-158). Amsterdam: Benjamins.
This chapter connects the grammar of the first person collective pronoun in the Cha’palaa language of Ecuador with its use in interaction for collective reference and social category membership attribution, addressing the problem posed by the fact that non-singular pronouns do not have distributional semantics (“speakers”) but are rather associational (“speaker and relevant associates”). It advocates a cross-disciplinary approach that jointly considers elements of linguistic form, situated usages of those forms in instances of interaction, and the broader ethnographic context of those instances. Focusing on large-scale and relatively stable categories such as racial and ethnic groups, it argues that looking at how speakers categorize themselves and others in the speech situation by using pronouns provides empirical data on the status of macro-social categories for members of a society
About MPI

This is the MPI

The Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics is an institute of the German Max Planck Society. Our mission is to undertake basic research into the psychological,social and biological foundations of language. The goal is to understand how our minds and brains process language, how language interacts with other aspects of mind, and how we can learn languages of quite different types.

The institute is situated on the campus of the Radboud University. We participate in the Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behaviour, and have particularly close ties to that institute's Centre for Cognitive Neuroimaging. We also participate in the Centre for Language Studies. A joint graduate school, the IMPRS in Language Sciences, links the Donders Institute, the CLS and the MPI.


Street address
Wundtlaan 1
6525 XD Nijmegen
The Netherlands

Mailing address
P.O. Box 310
6500 AH Nijmegen
The Netherlands

Phone:   +31-24-3521911
Fax:        +31-24-3521213

Public Outreach Officer
Charlotte Horn