This volume proposes a new way to address the classical question concerning the relation between language, cognition, and culture from the perspective of two basic systems: deixis and the pronominal system. It investigates the linguistic structuring of basic concepts of person, place and time in Romance languages, disclosing structural differences that may be related to mental parameters and other extra-linguistic circumstances and thus possibly linked to a light revision of the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis.
The methodological and theoretical focus is based on the discursive and pragmatic functional approach to deixis. The articles concern linguistic variation and language change, and most of the studies adopt cross linguistic perspectives, primarily among Romance languages, but also with a classical perspective from Ancient Greek discussing the existence of universal categorical patterns. The studies reveal similarities and differences between Romance languages mutually, and set the stage for comparisons between Romance and non-Romance languages. These similarities and differences are subject to change in connection with cultural developments in society and offer in this volume a coordinated effort in exploring the linguistic expressions of these extra-linguistic concepts.