The use of demonstratives in Dutch telephone conversations Comparing the traditional view on demonstratives with recent insights
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Words like ``deze'' (``this'') and ``die'' (``that'') are part of a group of words called demonstratives. Demonstratives may refer to objects within a text or to objects inside an accessible world. Moreover, demonstratives can be classified as proximal or distal, i.e. in folk language respectively indicated as nearby and far away. In this thesis we will investigate the criteria for using one of the two forms in a dialogue. It will be shown that the nearby/far away distinction is insufficient to explain the syntaxis of those forms, and therefore, cannot be used as an unambiguous criterion to choose one of the two forms in a language generation application. This will be done by comparing two views on demonstratives, the traditional and the alternative view. The traditional view is based on linking the meaning the form with distance, this may be a metaphorical distance. The alternative view looks at how hard it is to find the referent, and how important the referent is. The alternative view turned out to be more in line with our data which is based on telephone conversations. We compared the two views by measuring the relative usage of proximals and distals in relation to certain properties related to the referent. For example the distance between the use of the referent and the demonstrative, and the importance of the referent.