A salience-based analysis of the Tunisian Arabic demonstrative hāk as used in oral narratives*

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This paper reports on a study of the Tunisian Arabic demonstrative hāk, which encodes the cognitive status FAMILIAR, in the sense of the Givenness Hierarchy of Gundel et al. (1993). Although this demonstrative is usually used for at most FAMILIAR, it is frequently used in folk tales for the statuses ACTIVATED and IN FOCUS. I propose that this is a strategy used by the narrator to impose more processing effort on the hearer in order increase the relative salience of the referent of hāk. However, the degree of relative salience to which these entities are promoted is not always the same, and has to do with the centrality of the referent of hāk in the story.


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