Abstract

Across the languages of the world, elements recognized as "demonstratives" perform a wide range of functions, including reference tracking, discourse deixis, and recognitional functions, as well as simple pointing in the immediate physical context. It has long been assumed that this last "situational" use is the most basic, and that all other uses of demonstratives are derived from it. However, the primacy of situational use has recently been questioned, and evidence has been presented that suggests the four abovementioned uses of demonstratives are pervasive in all languages, and are therefore equally basic. This article examines further evidence from four non-Oceanic Malayo-Polynesian languages. The data presented here tentatively support the theory that the above four uses of demonstratives are universal, but they also confirm that situational use should indeed be considered the basic use of demonstratives.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1527-9421
Print ISSN
0029-8115
Pages
pp. 325-347
Launched on MUSE
2008-01-03
Open Access
No
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