Semantic domains of demonstratives and articles: A view of deictic referentiality explored on the paradigm of Croatian demonstratives

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Journal Article
Lingua, 2018, 201 pp. 102 - 118
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© 2017 Elsevier B.V. We argue that the meanings of demonstratives and articles can be analysed in terms of a combination of the spatial domain and a small set of semantic domains. We propose that deictic terms have a ‘fast semantics’ in the sense that they get their meaning in the course of the communicative act, as a result of an interaction between the interlocutors, which ultimately leads to referential anchoring. We focus on the semantics of demonstratives, presenting a case study of the very rich paradigm of Croatian demonstratives. We submit that articles refer to an ‘epistemic’ domain that forms part of the semantic space of the common ground that is built up during a discoursive act. Finally, we compare the semantics of deictic expressions with the specificatory and predicative functions of adjectives.
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