Deictic motion and the adoption of perspective in Greek

Eleni Antonopoulou and Kiki Nikiforidou

Abstract

In this paper we examine the semantics-pragmatics of the deictic motion verb erxome ‘come’ in central and extended uses. We argue that a detailed language-specific analysis of erxome and its systemic counterpart pijeno ‘go’ is necessary, since even at the level of basic appropriateness conditions, there are significant differences from other languages. Based on extensive corpus data, we further argue that in third-person discourse erxome is a conventional means of adopting perspective. In particular, we show that the factors which are relevant to the speaker’s/narrator’s choice to identify with a particular point of view are amenable to a principled description which relies both on discoursal parameters and text-sensitive generalizations. Motivating the adoption-of-perspective uses is a subjectification shift whereby the speaker’s presence at the goal of motion becomes increasingly more implicit. Our results, therefore, add to the study of deixis in natural languages, point to the existence of generalizations in the complex factors that underlie construal and highlight some of the cognitive mechanisms involved in meaning shifts.

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