Distance and visibility in Gawri demonstratives

University essay from Stockholms universitet/Institutionen för lingvistik

Abstract: This is a study of demonstratives in Gawri [ISO 639-3: gwc] (Hindukush Indo-Aryan, HKIA), based on field data collected in Islamabad, Pakistan during the winter of 2016–2017. Previous studies of HKIA languages report systems of third-person pronouns with a three-way demonstrative contrast – two terms distinguishing between proximal and distal referents, and one used with accessible referents out of sight. Gawri, by contrast, exhibits a five-term system of demonstrative determiners, which is separate from its personal pronouns. This study investigates the deictic meaning, pragmatic use, and syntactic function of each demonstrative in Gawri as well as a comparative sample of four Indo-Aryan languages. The purpose is to assess differences in reference to accessible and inaccessible entities, and whether Gawri’s invisible term is viable in an exophoric (situational) context. A modified version of Wilkins’ (1999) demonstrative questionnaire was used to elicit data from seven speakers. Results indicate that Gawri’s invisible demonstrative is functionally exophoric on at least two discrete distances from the deictic center, while it is restricted to accessible referents in other HKIA languages. A reanalysis of Gawri’s demonstrative system is proposed, which reduces its number of terms to two within each of the parameters of distance and visibility.

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