Deixis and Demonstratives in Oceanic Languages
Senft, G. (Ed.
(2004). Deixis and Demonstratives in Oceanic Languages
. Canberra: Pacific Linguistics.
When we communicate, we communicate in a certain context, and this context shapes our utterances. Natural languages are context-bound and deixis 'concerns the ways in which languages encode or grammaticalise features of the context of utterance or speech event, and thus also concerns ways in which the interpretation of utterances depends on the analysis of that context of utterance' (Stephen Levinson). The systems of deixis and demonstratives in the Oceanic languages represented in the contributions to this volume illustrate the fascinating complexity of spatial reference in these languages. Some of the studies presented here highlight social aspects of deictic reference illustrating de Leon's point that 'reference is a collaborative task' . It is hoped that this anthology will contribute to a better understanding of this area and provoke further studies in this extremely interesting, though still rather underdeveloped, research area.