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

ARNOLD Laura Laura.Arnold at ed.ac.uk
Mon Feb 8 10:18:05 UTC 2021

Dear Christoph,

Chapter 12 of my Ambel grammar goes into quite a bit of detail on demonstratives. There isn’t an ‘out-of-sight’ demonstrative, but you might be interested in the uses of andative hana. Roughly speaking, hana refers to entities moving away from the speaker, either spatially, or temporally (e.g. máni wa-hana ‘the bird from earlier’). More often than not, the entities referred to with hana are not in the immediate field of vision of the speaker – which gives the impression of an ‘out-of-sight’ function.

Grammar is here: https://laura-arnold.org/documents/Arnold_2018_AGrammarOfAmbel.pdf

All the best,

Laura Arnold – British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow

Room 1.13, Dugald Stewart Building
School of Philosophy, Psychology & Language Sciences
University of Edinburgh
From: An-lang <an-lang-bounces at anu.edu.au> on behalf of Joshua and Amy <josh.ruthamy at gmail.com>
Sent: 08 February 2021 01:49
To: Christoph Holz <christoph.holz at my.jcu.edu.au>
Cc: an-lang at anu.edu.au <an-lang at anu.edu.au>
Subject: Re: [An-lang] 'Visible' and 'invisible' demonstratives

This email was sent to you by someone outside the University.
You should only click on links or attachments if you are certain that the email is genuine and the content is safe.
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<mailto:christoph.holz at my.jcu.edu.au>> wrote:

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 Holz

PhD Candidate

James Cook University

Cairns, Australia
An-lang mailing list
An-lang at anu.edu.au<mailto:An-lang at anu.edu.au>
The University of Edinburgh is a charitable body, registered in Scotland, with registration number SC005336.
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <http://listserv.linguistlist.org/pipermail/an-lang/attachments/20210208/7ba700b8/attachment.htm>
-------------- next part --------------
An-lang mailing list
An-lang at anu.edu.au

More information about the An-lang mailing list