[Lingtyp] spatial deictic transfer

Sergey Loesov sergeloesov at gmail.com
Fri Mar 24 16:42:32 UTC 2023

Dear colleagues,

I am working on the “Ventive” marker in Old Babylonian and Old Assyrian,
two East Semitic varieties of the early second millennium BC, both with
extensive and reasonably well understood epistolary corpora of private
correspondence. The “Ventive” is a directional marker cliticized on motion
verbs to indicate motion towards a deictic centre (DC). In the default
case, the DC is the location of the speaker/writer, and the Ventive is
obligatory in this context. But this marker often appears on verbs
describing translocation towards THOU (the addressee of the respective
letter), and – though less frequently – towards other goals.

I believe that to encode the motion towards the respective speaker/writer
is the primordial and “natural” function of this marker, while the other
usages represent “deictic transfers”, somewhat comparable to Bühler’s
Deixis am Phantasma. I.e., a “deictic transfer” happens by virtue of the
marker’s deictic (or “shifer”, in the sense of Roman Jakobson) nature.

Could you please suggest to me some cross-linguistic analogies and
typological studies of spatial deictic shifts, migration of the DC from the
speaker to something else?

Thank you very much,

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