LINGUIST List 3.14

Sun 05 Jan 1992

Disc: Demonstratives

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  1. , 3.4 Demonstratives
  2. bert peeters, 2.886 Iconicity deictics / demonstratives

Message 1: 3.4 Demonstratives

Date: Fri, 03 Jan 92 10:37:24 ES3.4 Demonstratives
From: <elc9jprime.acc.Virginia.EDU>
Subject: 3.4 Demonstratives

Actually, only one of the Swahili demonstratives cited by Herb Stahlke
as a possible counterexample to the iconicity principle has an inherent
vowel. The demonstratives are h- + reduplicated vowel of concordial
noun class prefix followed by the concordial prefix (=proximal),
h- + the above + relativizing -o suffix (medial distance or afore-
mentioned), and concordial prefix + -le (=distal). The vowels of
hii, huu, etc. are those of the respective concordial prefixes of
noun classes, not part of the deictics themselves. If the suffixed -o
of the medial demonstrative were counted as part of the deictic, I
guess Swahili would be a counterexample in that the medial and distal
deictics would have vowels of equal degrees of closeness (o and e
respectively), but that depends whether the iconicity hypothesis is
making a claim that increasing distance MUST correspond with decreasing
vowel closeness, as opposed to equal-or-greater closeness.
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Message 2: 2.886 Iconicity deictics / demonstratives

Date: Mon, 6 Jan 92 9:20:44 EST 2.886 Iconicity deictics / demonstratives
From: bert peeters <>
Subject: 2.886 Iconicity deictics / demonstratives

> Date: Wed, 18 Dec 91 22:28:09 MEZ
> From: Martin Haase <MHAASEDOSUNI1.bitnet>
> Iconicity in demonstratives / local adverbs
> In many languages deictic local adverbs ('here, there') form a
> system, often related to the system of demonstratives. It seems
> that such systems follow an iconic principle: typically, smaller
> or greater distance from the speaker/hearer (the 'deictic point')
> are indicated by closer or more open vowels.
> In order not to take English, here is French as an example for a
> better known language: _ici_ 'here', _la_ 'there' (similarly: the
> corresponding demonstratives: _ceci_ 'this', _cela_ 'that' etc.).

... and the corresponding postnominal particles -ci and -la` as in

ce livre-ci 'this book [here]'
ce livre-la` 'that book [there]'

In French, demonstrative adjectives are indifferentiated wrt the deictic
point, and the recourse to particles is necessary to prevent ambiguity.

I can also confirm the existence of the iconic principle in the case of

hier - daar 'here - there'
dit - dat 'this - that' (pronouns and neuter adjectives)

but it does not work in the case of masculine and feminine demonstrative

deze jongen - deze dame 'this boy - this lady'
die jongen - die dame 'that boy - that lady'
Dr Bert Peeters Tel: +61 02 202344
Department of Modern Languages 002 202344
University of Tasmania at Hobart Fax: 002 207813
GPO Box 252C
Hobart TAS 7001
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