Re-analyzing the function of demonstrative reference in Tajik

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Graduate Student Theses, Dissertations, & Professional Papers

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Bowman, Kelly E
University of Montana
deixis; spatial deixis; space; Persian; Iranian; Semantics and Pragmatics
thesis / dissertation description
This thesis presents a re-analysis of Tajik demonstratives based on an alternative to the widely accepted framework for understanding demonstrative reference. In this framework, demonstrative reference is categorized according to two criteria: the anchor relative to which reference is made, and the number of spatial distinctions the system has for encoding distance from the anchor (Levinson 2004, O’Grady 2010). According to previous literature (Rastorgueva 1963, Perry 2005, Windfuhr & Perry 2009), Tajik has a speaker-anchored, two-way reference system. However, these criteria alone do not account for the data presented in this thesis. I therefore propose the following change to this categorization of demonstrative reference systems: the spatial distinctions made by a system are not always based on distance from the anchor. Instead they may be based on either distance or location. With a location-based distinction, a referent is indicated based on its location relative to other potential referents, rather than absolute distance from the anchor (Enfield 2003). Such a system is able to account for the Tajik data. Data presented in this thesis also call attention to a restriction on the use of the distal demonstrative not mentioned in existing descriptions of Tajik. The referent, if absent from the discourse situation, must be part of the common ground, defined as the set of shared knowledge, experiences, and beliefs common to discourse participants (Clark et al 1983). Finally, I propose a re-analysis of the semantics of Tajik demonstrative reference in terms of whether multiple demonstratives are present (Enfield 2003). In this view, Tajik has a basic demonstrative (glossed as proximal) which simply indicates a referent, regardless of distance from the anchor. Meaning distinctions, such as proximal/distal, are introduced only when multiple demonstratives are used, in order to differentiate multiple potential referents.