Integrating deictic co-speech gestures in demonstrative forms

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Deictic co-speech gestures (DCSGs) are commonly regarded as intimately related to exophoric demonstrative forms; yet, no account is available that formalises this relation. This paper proposes that DCSGs spell-out part of the internal structure of exophoric demonstratives: concretely, they contribute the spatial coordinates (direction and distance, syntactically encoded by the Demonstrative ‘Dem’ head and by a Measure Phrase ‘MeasP’ that modifies it, respectively) that identify the location of the demonstrative’s referent and the deictic centre. This naturally captures the intuition that exophoric demonstratives and DCSGs are related, under a multi-modal spell-out approach to demonstrative forms. Further, this proposal is compatible with independent facts regarding both the grammaticalisation of demonstrative forms and their acquisition.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)225-239
JournalLinguistics in the Netherlands
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 4 Nov 2022


  • demonstratives
  • deictic co-speech gestures
  • syntax
  • multi-modal spell-out


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