MA theses

Spatial Deixis in Chintang: Aspects of a Grammar of Space

Tyko Dirksmeyer, 2008

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This thesis examines the semantic structures underlying the linguistic encoding of space in Chintang. It provides a short general introduction to the history of thinking and speaking about space as well as to the notions of deixis and transposition, and sketches a state-of-the-art theory for categorizing spatial semantics (Levinson 2003). Drawing on targeted elicitation with native speakers, the empirical part then relates linguistic items of Chintang to the theoretical framework, with a focus on the nominal domain. After an analysis of deictic, topological, intrinsic and absolute spatial relations and their reflections in the language, the investigation concludes by comparing sets of Chintang deictics to those found in neighbouring Belhare (Bickel 2001). Despite striking formal resemblances, the semantic differences found indicate that even across closely related languages, meaning does not generalize easily.