Language and Cognition Department, Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics
 by Penelope Brown

Recognitional Deixis

“Recognitional” words and constructions enshrine our systematic reliance on shared knowledge in dedicated morphological forms and usage patterns. For example, English has a large range of terms for use when a speaker cannot locate the word or name for something or someone (e.g., whatsit, what’s-his-name), but thinks that the interlocutor knows, or can easily work out, what the speaker is talking about. This task aims to identify and investigate these kinds of expressions in the research language, including their grammaticalised status, meaning, distribution, and productivity. The task consists of a questionnaire with examples of relevant hypothetical scenarios that can be used in eliciting the relevant terms. The researcher is then encouraged to pursue further questions in regard to these items.


This Field Manual entry, and the accompanying stimulus materials, can be downloaded from the MPG Publication Repository:

How to cite this resource?

Enfield, N. J., Levinson, S. C., & Meria, S. (2001). Recognitional deixis. In S. C. Levinson, & N. J. Enfield (Eds.), Manual for the field season 2001 (pp. 78-81). Nijmegen: Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics. doi:10.17617/2.874641.

Volume 2001 , filed under Space project.