Linguistics Seminar – School of Humanities Linguistics Seminar – School of Humanities

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Linguistics Seminar

Topographical deixis and the reconstruction of Trans-Himalayan prehistory

Mark Post | Linguistics | Sydney

“Languages differ essentially in what they must convey and not in what they may convey.” —Roman Jakobson, “On Linguistic Aspects of Translation” In any language, it is possible to refer to things as being located upward, downward, or on the same level as an observer. In some languages, it is all but impossible not to. Such languages with “topographical deixis”, systems of distal reference which require an observer to locate an entity’s geo-physical location within a montane landscape, are endemic to Indigenous languages of the Himalayan region and reflect centuries and indeed millennia of cultural-linguistic co-evolution in a topographically varied environment. This seminar will introduce the form and functions of Himalayan topographical-deictic systems, outline their distribution within the Trans-Himalayan region, and show how the presence/absence and characteristics of topographical-deictic systems can be used to reconstruct some aspects of Trans-Himalayan ethnolinguistic prehistory.


Brennan-MacCallum A18 | Room 822 (8th floor common room) and on Zoom



Aug 26 2022


12:00 pm



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