Demonstratives are deictic expressions such as English ‘this’ and ‘that’ which indicate the relative distance of a referent in the speech situation in relation to the speaker’s location. When this and that are used contrastively, this denotes a referent in relative proximity to the speaker and that denotes a referent at a greater distance, as in This is my pen and that one is yours (see Diessel 2005a: 170).
Demonstratives often are homonymous with, or derive from, deictic locational adverbs such as ‘here’ and ‘there’, and are sometimes difficult to distinguish from them. Among the criteria for the demonstrative status of such elements are the following:
The demonstrative differs in shape from the spatial adverbs (French cette femme-ci ‘this woman’ vs. ici ‘here’).
The spatial adverbs are the only available demonstratives in the language, as in Papiamentu, where ‘this house’ can only be rendered by e kas aki, lit. ‘the house here’; e kas without aki means ‘the house’ and not ‘this house’.
The combination of the demonstrative and the adverb is obligatory, i.e. if in a given language only this house here may be used, but not *this house.
If pronominal and adnominal demonstratives behave differently (see Chapter 32 on pronominal and adnominal demonstratives), only adnominal demonstratives are considered.
This feature is only concerned with the number of distance contrasts and not with other categories encoded by demonstratives, e.g. visible vs. out of sight, uphill vs. downhill, or higher vs. lower elevation.
This feature is based on WALS feature 41 (Diessel 2005a).
We distinguish the following four values:
|No distance contrast||14|
Value 1 (no distance contrast) is found in eight French-based languages:
|Guadeloupean Creole||Noun + lasa (Colot & Ludwig 2013a)|
|Martinican Creole||Noun + tala (Colot & Ludwig 2013b)|
|Haitian Creole||Noun + sa (Fattier 2013)|
|Louisiana Creole||Noun + sala (Neumann-Holzschuh & Klingler 2013)|
|Mauritian Creole||sa + Noun (Baker & Kriegel 2013)|
|Seychelles Creole||sa + Noun (Michaelis & Rosalie 2013)|
|Reunion Creole||se + Noun (Bollée 2013)|
|Tayo||Noun + la (Ehrhart & Revis 2013)|
It also occurs in three English-based languages:
The other languages displaying this feature are:
Value 2 (two-way contrast) is the most widespread value and occurs in all types of APiCS languages.
|a man disi 'this man' (literally 'the man this') vs. a man dati 'that man' (literally 'the man that')|
|di shi 'this side' vs. di dungku da 'that night' (literally 'the night there')|
|es mes 'this month' vs. kel altura 'that time'|
|muntu yayi 'this book' (literally 'book this') vs. mukanda yina 'that book' (literally 'book that')|
|ini kendera 'this chair' vs. ittu kendera 'that chair'|
|isti belu 'this old man' vs. ake sepultura 'that tomb'|
|andi nak 'this land' (literally 'land this') vs. kumbut mən 'that village' (literally 'village that')|
|i admi 'this man' vs. u larika 'that boy'|
Fanakalo makes a tonal difference between the proximal and the distal demonstrative:
Value 3 (three-way contrast) occurs in six Ibero-Romance-based languages (Guinea-Bissau Kriyol, Angolar, Papiamentu, Cavite Chabacano, Ternate Chabacano, Zamboanga Chabacano), in two English-based languages (Nengee, Vincentian Creole), in Michif, and in Mixed Ma’a/Mbugu.
The Ibero-Romance languges, too, have three demonstratives, which, in a deictic situation, do not only express a difference of distance, but which are also bound to the speech act participants. In Spanish, este points to a referent near the speaker, ese near the hearer, and aquel is distant from both speaker and hearer (see (15) from Ternate Chabacano). In Papiamentu, for example, this difference was not retained; the three demonstratives refer to a relative distance to the location of the speech act, but they are not bound to the speech act participants. In other APiCS languages exhibiting this value, the situation is not clear. However, for Mixed Ma’a/Mbugu, Mous (2013) clearly states: “The three degrees of distance refer roughly to (1) near speaker (ká), (2) near addressee or referential (yá), and (3) distant (hú).”
In Michif, the demonstratives encode not only distance constrasts, but also animacy contrasts. The following examples illustrate the demonstratives used for inanimates.
Value 4 (four-way contrast) only occurs in Saramaccan:
Value 1 (no distance contrast) is present in the Americas, in the Caribbean, in the Indian Ocean, and in the Pacific, but is absent from insular and coastal West Africa, from South Asia, and from Southeast Asia. In WALS, this value is only present in Europe (French, German) and in North Africa. According to WALS, the French adnominal demonstrative ce/cette/ces is distance-neutral. This may explain why the great majority of the French-based creoles exhibit value 1, and also why this value is much more common in APiCS (19%) than in WALS (2%).
Value 2 (two-way contrast) is found in all regions in both APiCS and WALS; it is also the most widespread value in both atlases since it occurs in more than half of the languages: in 67% of the languages in APiCS and in 54% of the languages in WALS.
Value 3 (three-way contrast) is present in North America, in the Caribbean, in West Africa, as well as in the Philippines. In comparison with WALS (38%), this value is less widely found in APiCS (13%).
In APiCS, value 3 is well represented among the Ibero-Romance-based languages, and value 4 (four-way contrast) is restricted to Saramaccan (Caribbean).