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Goedegebuure, Petra
The Hittite Demonstratives
Studies in Deixis, Topics and Focus
volume: 55
pages/dimensions: XXVI, 610 pages
language: English
binding: Book (Hardback)
dimensions: 17.00 × 24.00 cm
weight: 1300g
edition: 1. Auflage
publishing date: 09.01.2014
prices: 98,00 Eur[D] / 100,80 Eur[A]
ISBN: 978-3-447-10228-5
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In order to mitigate the lack of context inherent to the study of dead languages, the author has developed a descriptive model that combines (a) cognitive approaches to reference, (b) a theory of information structure, and (c) typological studies on demonstratives. With the help of this model the author not only provides for the first time a thorough description of the long-known demonstratives ka- “this” and apa- “that”, but also identifies a third demonstrative, asi “that, yonder”. This identification has led to a reappraisal of the distal semantics of apa-: apa- does not mark remote objects at all but points at objects in the vicinity of the addressee. In short, the Hittite demonstratives are not distance- but person-based. As a third person pronoun, apa¯- also expresses emphasis. A detailed analysis within the framework of information structure shows, for example, that apa¯- in preverbal position marks a referent as the Contrastive Focus of its clause (in “the dog (not the cat) chased the horse”, dog is in Contrastive Focus). Non-contrastive focal apa¯-, on the other hand, always occurs in initial position. The addition of information structure to the grammatical description of Hittite thus provides a better understanding of the meaning effects of word order variation in this SOV language.