Title: The demonstratives of Ticuna: Meaning, use and acquisition
This talk discusses three fieldwork-based studies of the meaning of demonstratives, or words equivalent to this/that and here/there, in Ticuna, an Indigenous language spoken in Northwestern Amazonia. These studies illustrate the range of methods -- from classic elicitation, to experimental tasks, to acquisition studies -- which researchers can use to analyze semantics and pragmatics in a fieldwork setting. First, I discuss a mixed-methods study which examined whether Ticuna demonstratives encode perceptual or evidential information about the demonstrative referent. I show how elicitation, semi-experimental methods, and observational recordings of conversation converged to support the same analysis in this line of research. Second, I report on a quantitative study that analyzed the co-organization of demonstratives and pointing gestures in a video corpus of monolingual interviews with adults. And last, I discuss my continuing research on the L1 acquisition of Ticuna by children aged 1 to 4 years. Here, I show how collecting a large, observational dataset of children's language production allows us to ask novel questions about the interplay of frequency effects and cognitive/learning biases in the acquisition of demonstratives.