Natural Language & Linguistic Theory

, Volume 35, Issue 3, pp 801–837 | Cite as

Anaphoric demonstratives and mutual knowledge

The cases of Japanese and English
  • David Y. OshimaEmail author
  • Eric McCready


Since Kuno (1973), it has been widely acknowledged that the choice of Japanese demonstratives (the distal a-series, the medial so-series, and the proximal ko-series) in their anaphoric use is regulated by rules concerned with the speaker’s and the hearer’s knowledge of, or acquaintance with, the referent. In cross-linguistic discussions of anaphoric demonstratives, on the other hand, the effect of the interlocutors’ knowledge of the referent has hardly been acknowledged. This paper has the following goals. First, it critically reviews Kuno’s seminal analysis of Japanese anaphoric demonstratives, and presents a modified version of it. Second, it argues that the interlocutors’ knowledge of the referent is relevant to the choice of the English demonstratives this and that too. Third, it provides a formal semantic analysis of anaphoric demonstratives in the two languages.


Anaphoric demonstratives Mutual knowledge Presupposition Dynamic semantics Japanese English 



We are grateful for valuable comments to the four anonymous reviewers and the editor Julie Anne Legate. Some materials in this article were presented at PACLIC 28 and published in Oshima and McCready (2014); thanks also to the audience there for helpful feedback.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of International CommunicationNagoya UniversityNagoyaJapan
  2. 2.Department of EnglishAoyama Gakuin UniversityTokyoJapan

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