Realis and irrealis expressions are modal or pragmatic in nature. Realis and irrealis particles reflect “the grammaticization of speakers‟ (subjective) attitudes and opinions” (Bybee et al. 1994: 176). They reflect a speaker‟s attitude or level of certainty about the likelihood of a particular, usually past or future, action or occurrence. Among Indo-European languages, heavy focus is placed on grammar and syntax. However, in Siouan and other Native American languages, greater speaker-centered modal usage requires more focus on pragmatics and discourse.
In this paper, I compare the use of two Biloxi (ISO 639-3 bll) particles and explore what their use tells us about Biloxi discourse and pragmatics. I examine various uses of these particles as they appear in Biloxi narratives. Biloxi is a dormant Siouan language, a member of the Ohio Valley branch of the Siouan language family.
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