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Syncretism and containment in spatial deixis

Chapter in book
Authors Eric Lander
Liliane Haegeman
Published in Exploring Nanosyntax / Lena Baunaz, Karen De Clercq, Liliane Haegeman, Eric Lander (eds)
Pages 116 -148
ISBN 9780190876753
Publisher Oxford University Press
Place of publication New York
Publication year 2018
Published at Department of Swedish
Pages 116 -148
Language en
Keywords demonstratives, deixis, DP, nanosyntax, syncretism, containment
Subject categories Languages and Literature


This chapter investigates spatial-deictic systems (e.g. English this vs. that, or Latin hīc vs. iste vs. ille) from a wide range of typologically diverse languages. The empirical core of the chapter consists of two main parts: (i) syncretism patterns and (ii) morphological containment patterns. On the basis of the data, it is proposed that spatial deixis is universally encoded as a three-way contrast in UG: Proximal ‘close to speaker’, Medial ‘close to hearer’, and Distal ‘far from speaker and hearer’. A functional sequence of three heads is posited which captures the observed patterns.

Page Manager: Webmaster|Last update: 9/11/2012

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