Attention, accessibility, and the addressee: The case of the Jahai demonstrative ton

Niclas Burenhult

Abstract

The detailed semantic encoding of demonstrative systems of the world’s languages has come under increased scrutiny in recent years. One important finding is that spatial (notably distance) encoding, normally considered to lie at the heart of exophoric demonstrative semantics, may be rivalled as to its ‘basicness’ by more discourse-related forms of encoding, such as the status of the addressee’s attention in relation to the referent. This paper investigates the attentional characteristics of ton, a nominal demonstrative in Jahai (Mon-Khmer, Malay Peninsula) previously considered to encode spatial proximity to addressee. It does so in light of naturalistic interaction data from a specific object-identification task originally aimed at eliciting shape-encoding distinctions (Seifart 2003).

Keywords:
Quick links
A browser-friendly version of this article is not yet available. View PDF
Anderson, S.R., and E.L. Keenan
(1985) Deixis. In Timothy Shopen (ed.), Language typology and syntactic description. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. 259-308.Google Scholar
Burenhult, Niclas
(2001) Spatial deixis in Jahai. Paper presented at the Southeast Asian Linguistics Society (SEALS) XI , Bangkok, Thailand, May 16-18, 2001.
(2002)  A grammar of Jahai . Ph.D. dissertation, Lund University.
submitted) Distance undone: New light on the Jahai multi-term demonstrative system. In Michael Dunn and Sérgio Meira (eds.) Demonstratives in cross-linguistic perspective
in prep) Referring to the Beyond: Exterior demonstratives in Jahai.
Diessel, Holger
(1999) Demonstratives: Form, function, and grammaticalization. Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins Publishing Company. CrossrefGoogle Scholar
(2003) Demonstratives in language use and grammar. Paper from lectures given at the San Marino Summer School, 9-12 June 2003.
Dixon, R.M.W
(2003) Demonstratives: A cross-linguistic typology. Studies in language 27.1: 62-112. CrossrefGoogle Scholar
Meira, Sérgio
(2003) ‘Addressee effects’ in demonstrative systems: The cases of Tiriyó and Brazilian Portuguese. In F. Lenz (ed.), Deictic conceptualization of space, time and person. Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins, pp. 3-12. CrossrefGoogle Scholar
submitted) Non-contrastive exophoric uses of Tiriyó demonstratives. In Michael Dunn and Sérgio Meira (eds.) Demonstratives in cross-linguistic perspective Crossref
Özyürek, Asli
(1998) An analysis of the basic meaning of Turkish demonstratives in face-to-face conversational interaction. In S. Santi, I. Guaitella, C. Cave and G. Konopczynski (eds.), Oralité et gestualité: Communication multimodale, interaction. Paris: L’Harmattan, pp. 609-614.Google Scholar
Seifart, Frank
(2003) Encoding shape: Formal means and semantic distinctions. In Nick Enfield (ed.), Field research manual 2003 part I: Multimodal interaction, space, event representation. Nijmegen: Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics, pp. 57-59.Google Scholar
Wilkins, David P
(1999) The 1999 demonstrative questionnaire: “THIS” and “THAT” in comparative perspective. In David P. Wilkins (ed.), Manual for the 1999 field season. Nijmegen: Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics.Google Scholar