33 Distance contrasts in demonstratives

This feature is described more fully in chapter 33.


This feature (based on WALS feature 41, by Holger Diessel) is about distance contrasts expressed by demonstratives, i.e. deictic expressions such as English this and that. Demonstratives indicate the relative distance of a referent in the speech situation vis-à-vis the deictic center (origo), roughly equivalent to the speaker’s location. When this and that are used contrastively, this denotes a referent in relative proximity to the deictic center and that denotes a referent at a greater distance, as in English This is my pen and that one is yours. Some languages have further distance contrasts.


Philippe Maurer and the APiCS Consortium


No distance contrast14
Two-way contrast50
Three-way contrast10
Four-way contrast1

Language Value Lexifier Details Source
Id Primary text Analyzed text Gloss Translation Type Language Audio Details