Specificity, Referentiality and Discourse Prominence: German Indefinite Demonstratives


  • Klaus von Heusinger


There are various notions of specificity, ranging from Fodor & Sag’s (1982) referentiality view to Givón’s (1983) discourse prominence view. Ionin (2006) discusses the relation between these two perspectives by analyzing the English indefinite this. She represents indefinite this as a referential operator in the sense of Fodor & Sag (1982), but also adds the felicity condition of “noteworthiness”. She notes that it is an open question how these two properties of indefinite this are linked to each other. Wright & Givón (1987) claim that the discourse prominence is primary and that referential properties are derived from it. I argue that the contrary holds: On the analysis of German indefinite demonstrative dies (‘this‘) and so’n (‘such-a’) I demonstrate how we can derive discourse properties of indefinite demonstratives from their referential properties.


How to Cite

von Heusinger, K. (2019). Specificity, Referentiality and Discourse Prominence: German Indefinite Demonstratives. Proceedings of Sinn Und Bedeutung, 15, 9–30. Retrieved from https://ojs.ub.uni-konstanz.de/sub/index.php/sub/article/view/378