An experimental study on deictic verbs and the coding patterns of deixis in Ilami Kurdish: A comparative study

Amir Karimipour,

Shahla Sharifi


Conducting a video-based experiment in English, Japanese and Thai, Matsumoto et al. (2017) report that deictic verbs are more frequently used when the motion is not just toward the speaker but also into his/her functional space (i.e. functional HERE of the speaker) defined by limits of interaction and visibility as well as when the motion is accompanied by an interactional behaviour of the Figure such as greeting the speaker. They claim that directional venitive prepositional phrases (henceforth PPs) like toward me do not exhibit this feature, though. This paper aims to reevaluate these proposals (Matsumoto et al. 2017) in Ilami Kurdish (henceforth IK), thereby figuring out whether the functional nature of deictic verbs observed in the three studied languages is also attested in this dialect. In line with the findings reported by Matsumoto et al. (2017), results of this research reveal that the semantics of venitive verbs of motion in IK is spatial and functional at the same time. In other words, these verbs are more often used in the verbal descriptions of the IK participants, when the Figure shares a functional space with the speaker induced by limits of interaction and visibility, and also when he/she smiles at or greets the speaker. Importantly, results show that venitive PPs in IK can be functional in nature or add some functional meaning (in addition to their spatial meaning) to the verb, so that participants utilize venitive adpositions along with the venitive verb to add emphasis on the kind of motion (to be a venitive one) and express that the Figure would be “very close” to the speaker at the end of motion.

These findings suggest that although the functional nature of venitive verbs of motion seems to have a universal foundation, languages may also exhibit some nuances in the functional scope of these expressions.

Słowa kluczowe: deictic verbs, venitive verbs, motion, functional space, IK

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