Space and demonstratives: an experiment with Estonian exophoric demonstratives

  • Maria Reile Institute of Estonian and General Linguistics, University of Tartu
Keywords: Estonian, exophoric demonstratives, production experiment, spatial opposition, binomial mixed-effects logistic regression

Abstract

In recent years, the study of exophoric demonstratives has increased in Indo- European languages, but has received fairly little research attention in Estonian. The aim of the study is to verify by the means of a production experiment whether distance has an effect on the choice of Estonian exophoric demonstratives. Binomial mixed effects logistic regression analysis suggests that distance is the best predictor for the choice between demonstrative adverbs, but it has no effect on the choice between the demonstrative pronoun see ‘this’ and other referential devices, which can be explained by the lack of usage of the demonstrative pronoun too ‘that’. However, there also occurs unexpected usage of demonstrative adverbs that is best explained by other attributes of the referent and reference situation rather than simple spatial opposition. Thus, although the best predictor in demonstrative adverb choice proves to be distance, other attributes may play a fairly important role.
Published
2015-12-18