Correlation of textual and spatial reference

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This paper considers spatial/textual overlaps in the system of the three basic demonstrative categories, roughly translatable as ‘this’, ‘that’ and ‘yonder’ in Jawoyn, a Gunwinyguan language of the upper Northern Territory. The paper especially focuses on the proximal (‘this’) demonstrative in relation to the ‘that’ demonstrative, and argues that the former should be understood as a psycho-social category that implies ‘perceptual newness’, a concentration of focus, and unrecoverability from either prior discourse or assumable identifiability. The paper thus does not treat this ‘proximal’ demonstrative category a priori as grounded in some fixed spatial-locational sense, but as including semantic dimensions that enable its functioning as an index blending and expressing spatial differentiation in relation to other aspects of information, content and identifiability, including non-deictic socio-cultural ones. As always in demonstrative systems, its contrast with other demonstrative categories also conditions its indexical potential.


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