Author Topic: Is there a deictic marker for "edge"  (Read 2557 times)

Offline zaba

  • Serious Linguist
  • ****
  • Posts: 272
Is there a deictic marker for "edge"
« on: April 12, 2014, 06:14:52 AM »
I think I see a distinction between the following deictic words

Here
There
Yonder
At the edge (that is, the border of another area or zone)

Is there presedent for such a weird system?

Thanks!

Offline Daniel

  • Administrator
  • Experienced Linguist
  • *****
  • Posts: 1576
  • Country: us
    • English
Re: Is there a deictic marker for "edge"
« Reply #1 on: April 12, 2014, 10:15:09 AM »
I'm skeptical. If a speaker told you that, then you should look at the data again very carefully-- "at the edge of somewhere else" might be a good way of giving an example, but it may not completely cover the definition for that location. I'd guess it's really just "far away" or "some other place". Or "at least at the edge of somewhere else".

Regardless, if that really is the definition, then I don't see why there would be some specific word for it.
Welcome to Linguist Forum! If you have any questions, please ask.

Offline zaba

  • Serious Linguist
  • ****
  • Posts: 272
Re: Is there a deictic marker for "edge"
« Reply #2 on: April 12, 2014, 10:23:13 AM »
yeah, the speaker never really left her village so it's hard to say how extendable the concept of "edge" is, but from the transcriptions I have of local myths, I also have it used as the "edge" of Eden, etc.

Does this still count as a deitic in the same way that this/there/yon does? Or am I reading into what is just an "ordinary" lexeme?

Offline Daniel

  • Administrator
  • Experienced Linguist
  • *****
  • Posts: 1576
  • Country: us
    • English
Re: Is there a deictic marker for "edge"
« Reply #3 on: April 12, 2014, 11:42:53 AM »
Quote
yeah, the speaker never really left her village so it's hard to say how extendable the concept of "edge" is, but from the transcriptions I have of local myths, I also have it used as the "edge" of Eden, etc.
What about "across a boundary"? That's much more likely than "at an edge".
My intuition is that this forth category is "elsewhere", which fits with that. [Ignore my intuition if the data doesn't support it though!]

Quote
Does this still count as a deitic in the same way that this/there/yon does? Or am I reading into what is just an "ordinary" lexeme?
It looks like it functions paradigmatically with the others right? Can it ever appear with them?
HERE-EDGE
THERE-EDGE
etc?
Welcome to Linguist Forum! If you have any questions, please ask.

Offline MalFet

  • Global Moderator
  • Serious Linguist
  • *****
  • Posts: 282
  • Country: us
Re: Is there a deictic marker for "edge"
« Reply #4 on: April 12, 2014, 06:41:55 PM »
I'd need more information to properly evaluate, but at face value "at the edge" isn't really a deictic.

Offline Daniel

  • Administrator
  • Experienced Linguist
  • *****
  • Posts: 1576
  • Country: us
    • English
Re: Is there a deictic marker for "edge"
« Reply #5 on: April 12, 2014, 06:52:12 PM »
Quote
I'd need more information to properly evaluate, but at face value "at the edge" isn't really a deictic.
Certainly not a typical one, but why not, if indeed the judgment of the semantics is correct?
"Deictic" just means "pointing term", so why not point at an edge?
This is more specific than "here" or "there", but not so odd considering deictics like "across the river" or "uphill".
Welcome to Linguist Forum! If you have any questions, please ask.

Offline MalFet

  • Global Moderator
  • Serious Linguist
  • *****
  • Posts: 282
  • Country: us
Re: Is there a deictic marker for "edge"
« Reply #6 on: April 12, 2014, 08:11:56 PM »
Quote
I'd need more information to properly evaluate, but at face value "at the edge" isn't really a deictic.
Certainly not a typical one, but why not, if indeed the judgment of the semantics is correct?
"Deictic" just means "pointing term", so why not point at an edge?
This is more specific than "here" or "there", but not so odd considering deictics like "across the river" or "uphill".

Deictic doesn't just mean "pointing term", because if it did then all words with reference would be deictic.

A deictic is a class of referents whose resolution depends on the context of utterance. Likewise, "at the edge of here" would be deictic, but "at the edge" alone would not.

Offline Daniel

  • Administrator
  • Experienced Linguist
  • *****
  • Posts: 1576
  • Country: us
    • English
Re: Is there a deictic marker for "edge"
« Reply #7 on: April 12, 2014, 09:19:25 PM »
Then other absolute words like "on the north side of the river" would not count either yet are part of such systems in some languages. Perhaps this issue is just terminological.
Welcome to Linguist Forum! If you have any questions, please ask.

Offline MalFet

  • Global Moderator
  • Serious Linguist
  • *****
  • Posts: 282
  • Country: us
Re: Is there a deictic marker for "edge"
« Reply #8 on: April 12, 2014, 10:21:09 PM »
I'm not sure what systems you're talking about, but "on the north side of the river" is indeed also not a deictic.

Offline Daniel

  • Administrator
  • Experienced Linguist
  • *****
  • Posts: 1576
  • Country: us
    • English
Re: Is there a deictic marker for "edge"
« Reply #9 on: April 12, 2014, 11:07:04 PM »
Quote
I'm not sure what systems you're talking about, but "on the north side of the river" is indeed also not a deictic.
Ok. Then what term would be used to encompass that as well as deictics?

I know "directionals" can be used, but that is too broad, also including other types of words.
Welcome to Linguist Forum! If you have any questions, please ask.

Offline zaba

  • Serious Linguist
  • ****
  • Posts: 272
Re: Is there a deictic marker for "edge"
« Reply #10 on: April 12, 2014, 11:27:06 PM »
Quote
I'd need more information to properly evaluate, but at face value "at the edge" isn't really a deictic.
What sort of info would you need?

Offline MalFet

  • Global Moderator
  • Serious Linguist
  • *****
  • Posts: 282
  • Country: us
Re: Is there a deictic marker for "edge"
« Reply #11 on: April 13, 2014, 06:18:53 AM »
Quote
I'm not sure what systems you're talking about, but "on the north side of the river" is indeed also not a deictic.
Ok. Then what term would be used to encompass that as well as deictics?

I know "directionals" can be used, but that is too broad, also including other types of words.

You're looking for a label that would include all deictics plus "on the north side of the river"? That doesn't strike me as a particularly natural class cross-linguistically. "Terms related to space", I guess?

Offline MalFet

  • Global Moderator
  • Serious Linguist
  • *****
  • Posts: 282
  • Country: us
Re: Is there a deictic marker for "edge"
« Reply #12 on: April 13, 2014, 06:21:58 AM »
Quote
I'd need more information to properly evaluate, but at face value "at the edge" isn't really a deictic.
What sort of info would you need?

Like I said, a deictic is a word whose resolution depends on the context of its utterance. To know if this particular term is deictic, you'd need to evaluate its semantics with regard to absolute and relative reference. Could I, sitting in my living room in South Asia, use this word to talk about something that sits [at the edge] of Paris?

Offline Daniel

  • Administrator
  • Experienced Linguist
  • *****
  • Posts: 1576
  • Country: us
    • English
Re: Is there a deictic marker for "edge"
« Reply #13 on: April 13, 2014, 10:08:23 AM »
I agree with what MalFet said: "at the edge" should be investigated in more detail. I'd imagine it may have something to do with a boundary (being visible?) but probably also more about the deictic center.

This paper might give you some ideas:
http://www.personal.uni-jena.de/~x4diho/Deixis%20and%20demonstratives.pdf

The system on p.14 (Shoshone) might be relevant, with the "not visible" category referring to something "across a boundary". That's my best guess, if this really is part of the same system.

This is also relevant including a "past a wall" category:
http://books.google.com/books?id=XBZoJnYIb7wC&lpg=PA44&ots=JhtFnJm8Sx&dq=river%20demonstratives&pg=PA44#v=onepage&q&f=false
If that doesn't work for you:
Diessel, H. (1999). Demonstratives: Form, function and grammaticalization. John Benjamins Publishing. pp. 44-45



MalFet: I think you're right. Deixis is necessarily relative. I think I'm remembering some discussion of non-deictic demonstratives, as well as topographic deixis like "upriver" etc.
Welcome to Linguist Forum! If you have any questions, please ask.