Manfred Consten & Maria Averintseva-Klisch:
“Nahe Referenten”. Ein integrativer Ansatz zur Funktion demonstrativer Referenz

This paper discusses the textual functions of demonstratives in German, bringing them together in a hierarchy of features licensing demonstrativity. These features are proximity and topicality. In particular, we generalise the concept of proximity (otherwise understood in the sense of physical deixis), introducing cognitive proximity as a cover term for several instances of specific mental relationships between referents and the discourse world. We claim that the commonly assumed restriction to non-topical referents for anaphoric demonstrative NPs can be overridden if demonstratives mark cognitive proximity. Our claim is confirmed in a questionnaire study considering the use of demonstratives in the German Right Dislocation construction, which overtly marks discourse topicality. Furthermore, our results lead us to a concept of focussing as a local discourse strategy at the level of referential structure which is realised by Right Dislocation and demonstrativity in a similar way.

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