Language and Cognition Department, Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics
 by Ewelina Wnuk

Eliciting Contrastive Use of Demonstratives for Objects Within Close Personal Space

Contrastive reference, where a speaker presents or identifies one item in explicit contrast to another (I like this book but that one is boring), has special communicative and information structure properties. This can be reflected in rules of demonstrative use. For example, in some languages, terms equivalent to this and that can be used for contrastive reference in almost any spatial context. But other two-term languages stick more closely to “distance rules” for demonstratives, allowing a this-like term in close space only. This task elicits data concerning one context of contrastive reference, focusing on whether (and how) non-proximal demonstratives can be used to distinguish objects within a proximal area. The task runs like a memory game, with the consultant being asked to identify the locations of two or three hidden items arranged within arm’s reach.


This Field Manual entry can be downloaded from the MPG Publication Repository:

How to cite this resource?

Wilkins, D. (1999). Eliciting contrastive use of demonstratives for objects within close personal space (all objects well within arm’s reach). In D. Wilkins (Ed.), Manual for the 1999 Field Season (pp. 25-28). Nijmegen: Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics. doi:10.17617/2.2573796.

Volume 1999 , filed under Demonstratives, Space project.