Yucatec demonstratives in interaction

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This chapter compares Hanks’ (1990, 2005) ‘practice’ approach to the demonstratives of Yucatec Maya based on the recording of spontaneously occurring interactions to the results obtained by the author with the elicitation questionnaire developed by Wilkins (1999). The study of the meaning and use of demonstratives represents particular challenges to linguistic data gathering because of their context dependency and the role of interactional factors such as attention sharing. The questionnaire study disconfirmed any direct impact of the location of the addressee on the choice of demonstrative and showed a systematic contrast between simple forms used for joint attention and augmented ones used for attention direction. It is argued that observation of spontaneous interactions and elicitation should be pursued in tandem. Keywords: attention direction; demonstratives; elicited vs. spontaneous data; interaction; Yucatec Maya


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