Mayumi Adachi

University of Tokyo, Department of Linguistics




Vietnamese Demonstratives đây, đó, kia


The present paper examines deictic, anaphoric and memorative uses of Vietnamese demonstratives. The results are as follows.


1.       Đây (proximal) directly indicates a referent close to the speaker. It can refer to an antecedent which is introduced into the context with a text, and can also make reference to a non-specific antecedent.


2.       Kia (distal) points out a visible referent far from the speaker. Sometimes kia pairs up with đây, which means ‘one and the other’. While kia doesn’t have anaphoric use, it can be used in memorative uses, that is, refers to the referent within the direct experience of the speaker.


Đó (medial) indicates either a visible or invisible referent far from the speaker. Đó doesn’t always point out the place between đây and kia. The speaker often has an intuition that the referent is a new and unfamiliar thing to him or her. What matters is whether the speaker feels the referent to be near (physically or psychologically), while the position of the addressee is irrelevant as to the use of demonstratives. Đó can also mention a vague referent in the form of ‘interrogative + đó’. Đó generally doesn’t have a pair, though đây and đó represent the speaker and the hearer respectively when they are treated as personal pronouns. Đó has typical anaphoric use, and moreover it can be used in memorative uses. While kia refers to an object familiar to the speaker, đó refers to an object which the speaker feels to be distant.