Reported clause markers

A reportative sentence contains two clauses: the reporting clause and the reported clause, each describing a distinct event. The reported clause (RepdCl), also known as an utterance complement, describes an event that is reported to have happened, while the reporting clause describes that event as being reported. Prototypically, this is expressed through the use of the verb ‘say.’ Reported clauses may be direct or indirect. If direct, the clause appears in the same grammatical form as spoken by the source; if indirect, the clause appears in a different grammatical form (such as appearing in a different person or tense).

Reported clauses may be indicated through the use of reported clause markers, which are grammatical morphemes, such as independent words, affixes, particles, or special verb forms[1] that do not appear in simple declarative sentences but obligatorily or optionally appear in reportative sentences.[2]


NoRepdMark: Reported clauses are not indicated by any specific grammatical marker or other morphological strategy, [3] because all reported clauses in the language are direct; indirect reportativity does not exist.

NoRepdMark: Although indirect reported clauses exist, they are not indicated by any specific grammatical marker or other morphological strategy.

Repd: Reported clauses are indicated by subordination without any conjunction.

RepdV: Reported clauses are marked by the use of a special verb form.[4]

RepdAff: Reported clauses are marked by the use of a special verbal affix.[5]

RepdClit: Reported clauses are marked by the use of a special clitic.[6]

RepdWV1: Reportativity is marked by the use of a referent that appears in the reporting clause.[7]

RepdWV2: Reportativity is marked by the use of a conjunction that appears in the reported clause.

When a language displays more than one strategy, multiple values can be listed. If one strategy is dominant, a slash (/) can separate the two values, with the dominant value appearing first; if neither is dominant, they are listed with an ampersand (&) separating the two. The use of parentheses indicates that use of the strategy is not obligatory.


[1] Special (that is, deranked or demoted) verbs forms only appear with direct, not indirect, reporting. Such words include both nonfinite verbs and verb forms that differ from base form in their tense, aspect, mood, case affixes, or adpositions. The use of special verb forms should not be confused with tense agreement, since the latter is not used to mark reported clauses. (See parameter Tense agreement.) Examples of tense agreement should therefore not be classified as RepdV. If the verb form appears in a different form solely because of the subordinate status of the clause, not to mark it as a reported clause, this should be clarified in the commentary.

[2] The function of this marker is not necessarily exclusive to marking reportativity.

[3] Intonation is not considered to constitute a marking strategy for the purposes of this parameter.

[4] This value does not address whether the form of the verb in the indirect reported clause is identical to the form it would take in the equivalent direct reported clause, but rather whether the verb in the indirect reported clause appears in a distinct grammatical form than it would in any non-reported (or directly reported) clause. If the verb of the indirect reported clause appears in a special (distinct) form, the clause is termed deranked; if not, the clause is balanced. If the difference between the reported clause and the independent verb form is that the reported clause has a special affix or clitic, and its removal would result in the form used in an independent clause, then the two verb forms are considered to be the same, since the affix functions as a conjunction marking the structure as a reported clause.

[5] The special affix should be invariant (non-paradigmatic) in its form. Without it, the verb form would be identical to the form in which it appears in an independent clause. In some cases, the special morpheme may appear as an affixed conjunction. Whether it marks reportativity or is required in any subordinate clause should be specified in the commentary.

[6] The clitic should be invariant (non-paradigmatic) in its form and does not necessarily attach to the verb. Without it, the sentence would be an independent clause.

[7] This covers cases in which the sentence is not complex and those in which the marker appears obligatorily in the main clause rather than the reported clause. The word class of the obligatory independent word should be specified in the commentary.