Distal Demonstratives Licensed by Culturally-Familiar Scenarios

Ryan Doran, Gregory Ward

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


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’s one 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 community in which the relevant scenario is familiar.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationProceedings of the Linguistic Society of America
StatePublished - 2017


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