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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter Mouton March 29, 2021

Analogical Levelling in the Majorcan Catalan Demonstrative System

  • Emanuela Todisco ORCID logo EMAIL logo , Pedro Guijarro-Fuentes and Kenny R. Coventry
From the journal Probus


Demonstratives are cross-linguistically widespread expressions. The use of demonstratives is flexible due to their semantic elasticity, which allows them to describe more or less extensive regions or referents in a communicative scenario. The constant remapping between demonstratives and referents might lead to a restructuring of the deictic system itself in accordance with the parameters affecting its use. To that end, we analyzed the structural changes affecting demonstratives in Majorcan Catalan by analysing whether speakers use three or two terms (aquest/aqueix/aquell vs. aquest/aquell) to convey spatial information. We also assessed whether any change in the adnominal/pronominal forms mirrored locative adverbs reduction. We elicited the production of demonstratives in 36 simultaneous Majorcan/Spanish bilinguals via a psycholinguistic experiment and we found two main results. First, simultaneous bilingual speakers do not extensively use the term aqueix to convey information related to physical distance. Second, the pronominal/adnominal reduction from three- to two-terms differs from the adverbial reduction. In the first case, aqueix is dropping out of the system, while locative adverbs present a shift with substitution of açí for aquí. Overall, our results shed new light on how the Majorcan Catalan demonstrative system is structured and explain structural changes in terms of ‘analogical levelling’ in paradigmatic relations.

Corresponding author: Emanuela Todisco, Departament de Filologia Espanyola, Moderna i Clàssica, Universitat de les Illes Balears Facultat de Filsofia i Lletres, Palma, Illes Balears, Spain, E-mail:

Funding source: Marie Skłodowska Curie European Training Network, European Union (Horizon2020)

Award Identifier / Grant number: 676063


The table reports the results of the Bilingual Language Profile (BLP) test performed by the bilingual sample. The column labelled “BLP Score” reports the subjects’ scores, which go from −218 to +218. A score near zero indicates balanced bilingualism; a more positive score indicates a preference for Spanish and a more negative score indicates and preference for Catalan. The column labelled “Language Preference” expressly reports in the preference for one of the two languages. The choice of positive and negative for Spanish and Catalan is totally arbitrary.

SubjectBLP ScoreLanguage preference


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Published Online: 2021-03-29
Published in Print: 2021-05-26

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