Spatial indexicalities and spatial pragmatics
This paper argues for a rapprochement between the two hitherto entirely separate linguistic research traditions that have as their topic the relationship of space and language. This is on the one hand research on spatial deixis, which focuses on how languages are equipped to deal with location and manoeuvring in space. On the other hand, there is research in areal linguistics which looks at the way in which variable linguistic features are distributed across geographical spaces. It is argued that at the heart of areal linguistics lies a deeply pragmatic procedure: that of locating speakers in space on the basis of their language, an issue that is of permanent concern for speakers as it is one basis of social categorisation. While spatial deixis serves to locate discourse objects by means of indexical linguistic signs (deixis), areal variation in language serves to locate speakers in space through another type of indexicality based on lay knowledge about where people speak how.