Deixis

We did a bit of video work today. In particular, some deixis elicitation and some gesture recording, which was fun.

I wonder if I’m missing something about Bardi deixis. There seem to be only two levels: jiiba or jarri ‘this’ and nyoonoo ‘that’. Jarri seems to be primarily an anaphor, whereas jiiba seems to be primarily a deixis marker, although it’s not completely clearcut. [Interestingly, there are only 8 examples in the whole Laves corpus of jiiba.] Everything up unitl the furthest item away is marked with this proximal marker. The furthest item is marked with nyoonoo. Within motion marking, there’s nyalab(oo) ‘to there’, that is, to a place that isn’t centred on the speaker’s location (the locative of that is nyoonbadan or nyoonba). It contrasts with balab(oo) ‘to here’, and jiibordany ‘here’ and all of these can take ablative and allative marking. And that seems to be it. After Yolŋu deixis, it seems a bit underdone, but I guess if 80 years of various people’s fieldwork have uncovered anything else it’s probably right.

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3 responses to “Deixis

  1. “I guess if 80 years of various people’s fieldwork have uncovered anything else it’s probably right”

    Don’t be swayed by such reasoning. Tlingit has had nearly 100 years of various people’s fieldwork and there is still plenty of fairly basic stuff that remains undescribed and misunderstood. I could write a dissertation about the derivational verb suffixes alone, and in working on them I’ve found that pretty much everyone before has just said “meh, there are more interesting things to look at, that’s all I’ve got”.

  2. I think the jiiba and jarri distributions will be quite interesting, if you get the chance to look at them in detail.

    In Dalabon, there are 4 main demonstratives I’ve been looking at (other forms being either adverbs, or ambiguous with respect to demonstrative/adverbial status etc). To present the paradigm very simplistically, they seem to divide into spatially-specific (2 forms) and non-spatially-specific (2 forms).

    The spatially specific demonstratives are nunda ‘this, here in the here-space’ and djakih ‘that in the there-space’, with the here-space and there-space boundaries being flexible and actively constructed, changed and monitored by speakers throughout the course of an interaction. These are primarily used with exophoric reference, although nunda does make some endophoric appearances.

    The non-spatially-specific demonstratives are kanh ‘that one you know what I’m talking about (recognitional)’ and nunh ‘that one contrary to expectations; that one I’m not affiliated with’. These can both be used exophorically (despite their not being specific with respect to referent-location), but also feature heavily in endophoric and anemnestic reference.

    Nick Enfield’s 2003 Language paper on demonstratives in Lao has been a great foundation for getting insight into the demonstrative system in Dalabon, especially the uneven (and sometimes overlapping) paradigmatic distributions.

    Keen to hear more about Bardi demonstratives!

  3. Pingback: Catch-up « Anggarrgoon

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