Volume 37, Issue 3
  • ISSN 0176-4225
  • E-ISSN: 1569-9714
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  • The distribution, reconstruction and varied fates of topographical deixis in Trans-Himalayan (Sino-Tibetan)

    Implications for the reconstruction of an early Trans-Himalayan environment

  • Author(s): Mark W. PostORCID icon
  • Source: Diachronica, Volume 37, Issue 3, Sept 2020, p. 368 - 409
  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1075/dia.19018.pos
    • Received: 27 Mar 2019
    • Accepted: 12 Apr 2020
    • Version of Record published : 03 Aug 2020



Topographical deixis refers to a variety of spatial-environmental deixis, in which typically distal reference to entities is made in terms of a set of topographically-anchored referential planes: most often, , or . This article reviews the genealogical and geographic distribution of topographical deixis in Trans-Himalayan (Sino-Tibetan) languages, reviews the conditions in which topographical deixis in Trans-Himalayan languages may be gained or lost, and concludes that (a) topographical deixis is overwhelmingly found in languages spoken in montane environments, and (b) topographical deixis most likely reconstructs to a deep level within Trans-Himalayan. The language spoken at that level – whose precise phylogenetic status cannot yet be specified – was overwhelmingly likely to have been spoken in a montane environment.


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