Spatial deixis and grammaticalization in Atayal.

2016. №4, 56-85

Irina M. Gorbunova
Russian State University for the Humanities, Moscow, 125993, Russian Federation;


This paper is devoted to a typologically overlooked phenomenon, viz. deictic locative copulas, in Atayal, an Austronesian language spoken in northern Taiwan. Three locative copulas (distal, proximal and neutral) in Atayal are considered. In our analysis of the deictic opposition between them a rather complex spatial structure with more than two deictic areas is revealed, one of those areas being inaccessible for both distal and proximal copulas. To express location in this particular area one has to use the neutral copula. According to our data, the deictic properties of the distal and proximal copulas affect their grammaticalized uses (in progressive and resultative constructions) as well. Due to the fact that the neutral copula has grammaticalized differently, the progressive construction is never used to indicate situations located where the deictic copulas cannot be used.