[An-lang] Call for abstracts: Discourse Functions of Demonstratives

Anna Margetts anna.margetts at monash.edu
Mon Dec 4 03:28:11 UTC 2017

*Call for abstracts:

*Discourse Functions of Demonstratives *

This two-day workshop focuses on the functions of demonstratives and 
related forms as discourse-structuring devices beyond their already 
well-described reference tracking and discourse-deictic uses.

Dates 14. - 15. Juni 2018,Oslo, Norway

The class of forms referred to as ‘demonstratives’ is large and varied, 
both crosslinguistically and often within individual languages. 
Traditional classifications of demonstrative forms (e.g. Diessel 1999, 
Dixon 2003) focus especially on the deictic distinctions made in 
demonstrative systems, and the morphology, syntax and grammaticalisation 
of demonstrative forms. Apart from being used in exophoric function, it 
is also well established that demonstratives often show endophoric 
functions. Himmelmann (1996), among others, discusses the use of 
demonstratives in introducing, identifying and tracking referents in 

Beyond reference-tracking and discourse deixis, there is evidence that 
demonstratives are linked to a range of further discourse functions 
which have not been generally acknowledged in the typological literature 
(see e.g. functions discussed by Reesink 1987, de Vries 1995, François 
2001, 2005, Schapper and San Roque 2011, Kratochvil 2011). Furthermore, 
despite extensive research over the last decades on demonstrative 
systems cross-linguistically and within individual languages, we know 
surprisingly little about markedness distinctions in demonstrative 
paradigms (Himmelmann 1997), i.e. about which member is the unmarked 
choice in a particular type of use and which member (and in which use) 
has the tendency to further grammaticalise into which target domain.


This two-day workshop focuses on the functions of demonstratives and 
related forms as discourse-structuring devices beyond their already 
well-described reference tracking and discourse-deictic uses.

We are interested in

  * functions including the foregrounding or backgrounding of
    information (e.g. referents, events, stretches of discourse),
    marking presupposed or asserted information, marking discourse
    topics, marking stretches of discourse as forming a unit,
    clause-linking and subordination-like functions, as well as
    functions relating to information structure (i.e. clause-level
    topic/focus relations).

  * how the structure of a demonstrative paradigm interacts with
    discourse functions. That is, does the type of system (person-based
    vs. distance-based) and/or the number of contrasts within the system
    (two-term, three-term, larger systems) have any impact on which
    member(s) of the paradigm take on specific functions?

  * little-studied discourse functions of demonstratives referring to
    persons, places and objects, but also in demonstratives expressing
    other ontological categories (e.g. manner, quality, degree,
    quantity), as well as contributions on the discourse function of
    presentative demonstratives.

*Submission of Abstracts*

We invite abstracts for 20-minute presentations to be submitted by 31 
January 2018. Abstract should be maximum one page in 12-point font, 
including examples and references. Please submit your abstract to 
demonstratives2018 at iln.uio.no <mailto:demonstratives2018 at iln.uio.no>
Notification of acceptance: 28 February 2018.

*Organising committee*

Åshild Næss, University of Oslo

Jozina Vander Klok, University of Oslo

Anna Margetts, Monash University

Yvonne Treis, CNRS-LLACAN


Diessel, Holger. 1999. Demonstratives: Form, function, and 
grammaticalization. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

De Vries, Lourens. 1995. Demonstratives, referent identification and 
topicality in Wambon and some other Papuan languages. Journal of 
Pragmatics 24(5). 513–533.

Dixon, R.M.W. 2003. Demonstratives: a cross-linguistic typology. Studies 
in Language 27:1, 61-112.

François, Alexandre. 2001. Contraintes de structures et liberté dans 
l’organisation du discours: une description du mwotlap, langue 
océanienne du Vanuatu. Univ. Paris.

François, Alexandre. 2005. A typological overview of Mwotlap, an Oceanic 
language of Vanuatu. Linguistic Typology 9. 115–146.

Himmelmann, Nikolaus. P. 1996. Demonstratives in narrative discourse: a 
taxonomy of universal uses. In Fox ed., Studies in Anaphora, 205-254. 
Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

Himmelmann, Nikolaus P. 1997. Deiktikon, Artikel, Nominalphrase: zur 
Emergenz syntaktischer Struktur. Tübingen: Niemeyer.

Kratochvíl, František. 2011.  Discourse-structuring functions of Abui 
demonstratives. In Foong Ha Yap, Karen Grunow-Hårsta and Janick Wrona 
(eds.), Nominalization in Asian languages: Diachronic and 
typological perspectives, 757–788. Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins.

Reesink, Ger P. 1987. Structures and their functions in Usan. 
Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins Publishing Company.

Schapper, Antoinette, and Lila San Roque. 2011. Demonstratives and 
non-embedded nominalisations in three Papuan languages of the 
Timor-Alor-Pantar family. Studies in Language 35:2, 380-408.


Anna Margetts
Linguistics Program, LCL
PO Box 11A
Building 11 (Menzies Bldg)
Monash University
Victoria 3800

Phone: (+61 3) 9905 2290
Fax:   (+61 3) 9905 5437

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