[An-lang] 'Visible' and 'invisible' demonstratives

Joshua and Amy josh.ruthamy at gmail.com
Mon Feb 8 01:49:51 UTC 2021

Jarai (Austronesian), like other Chamic languages, has a three-way
proximal-medial-distal distinction. The distal has sometimes been described
as "out of sight," which I simply accepted when I began my study. As I've
learned the language, however, I've realized that the distal is the
demonstrative used for the "other side" of something (the road, a river),
and the demonstrative used in situations where someone is going "somewhere
else." "Somewhere else" and "the other side" are indeed often out of sight,
but not necessarily. The "out of sightness" is accidental, not a component
of the meaning (in my view). So I would recommend that you do some testing
before accepting lexical entries at face value.

(Another Chamic language, Roglai I believe, has a proximal --
distal-definite -- distal-indefinite distinction (as described briefly by
Ernie Lee), which could also appear to encode out-of-sightness but in fact
probably does not.)

Joshua & RuthAmy Jensen
Ratanakiri, Cambodia
088-957-1791 (in Cambodia)
817-522-4383 (US number, also rings in Cambodia)

On Wed, Jan 27, 2021 at 8:24 PM Christoph Holz <christoph.holz at my.jcu.edu.au>

> Dear all,
> I am working on a paper about the discourse functions of ‘visible’ and
> ‘invisible’ demonstratives, with a focus on Tiang (a Meso Melanesian
> language from New Ireland, PNG, which I am doing fieldwork on).
> Are you aware of other languages with a ‘visible’/‘invisible’ distinction
> in demonstratives, and whether ‘visible’ and ‘invisible’ demonstratives
> differ in their discourse functions? I am interested in which
> demonstratives can act as anaphors and/or cataphors, and whether certain
> demonstratives are more frequent in a certain function. Most grammars do
> not really talk about this… Information on any language (Austronesian,
> Papuan, other language families) would be a great help.
> Kind regards,
> Christoph
> Christoph Holz
> PhD Candidate
> James Cook University
> Cairns, Australia
> _______________________________________________
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> An-lang at anu.edu.au
> http://mailman.anu.edu.au/mailman/listinfo/an-lang
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