When we communicate, we communicate in a certain context and this context
shapes our utterances. Natural languages are context-bound and deixis
'concerns the ways in which languages encode or grammaticalise features of
the context of utterance or speech event, and thus also concerns ways in
which the interpretation of utterances depends on the analysis of that
context of utterance' (Stephen Levinson).
The systems of deixis and demonstratives in the Oceanic languages
represented in the contributions to this volume illustrate the fascinating
complexity of spatial reference in these languages. Some of the studies
presented here highlight social aspects of deictic reference illustrating
de Leon's point that 'reference is a collaborative task'. It is hoped that
this anthology will contribute to a better understanding of this area and
provoke further studies in this extremely interesting, though still rather
underdeveloped, research area.