Distal demonstratives licensed by culturally-familiar scenarios

Ryan Doran, Gregory Ward


Previous work on English demonstratives (Gundel et al. 1993, Diessel 1999) has shown that distal demonstratives may be used to indicate information status. In this paper, we investigate a use of distal demonstratives that is licensed by (presumed) shared knowledge of culturally-familiar scenarios, rather than by private shared knowledge of particular entities, as exemplified in (1):

(1) I’m not really fit to talk in the morning until I’ve had that first cup of coffee. [corpus]

Here, the entity specified by the demonstrative NP stands proxy for the familiar routine of beginning one’s day and no specific cup of coffee is being referred to. We show that, by using the demonstrative in this way, the speaker presumes that the hearer is a member of a community in which the relevant scenario is familiar.



Full Text:


DOI: https://doi.org/10.3765/plsa.v2i0.4047

Copyright (c) 2017 Ryan Doran, Gregory Ward

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

Donate to the Open-Access Fund of the LSA

Linguistic Society of America

Advancing the Scientific Study of Language since 1924

ISSN (online): 2473-8689

This publication is made available for free to readers and with no charge to authors thanks in part to your continuing LSA membership and your donations to the open access fund.