Proferative and Contrastive Deixis in Rawang Ata

Distinct from the system of positionals is a system of deictics with a separate field of use. This system contains only five deictics, two of which are rare. Due to their association with transference, we will call them oblates.

1. Exclamatory uses

The core use of oblates is as exclamations when handing an object to an interlocutor. Four of the five oblates can be used in this way:





The first of these can be used in place of any of the other three. The second is used specifically when relinquishing ownership, as when giving a gift. The third, used more rarely, occurs when responsibility is relinquished – as when handing over a person or object to be guarded or kept captive. The fourth signifies that the item remains a property of the giver, and that benefits will continue to accrue to the giver, but that responsibility has been transferred – mostly used in legal instances, as when handing over stewardship of property.

The fifth oblate is in a way the opposite of the above – it is used when taking an object from an interlocutor:


All five oblates may be used a metaphorical way to refer to concepts and statements transferred in discourse, in which case they are used as interjections:


“There, think about that!”


“There, I’ve told you myself so you didn’t have to work it out”


“Hold that thought for now, it will be relevant later”


“That’s what I’ve given you, now give me your own thought”

(Used only in formal contexts, such as in instruction)

The oblates ia and niò may also be used in response to questions and statements, with meanings of “yes, I don’t deny it” and “I was the one who told you!”.

2. Pronominal and adjectival proferative uses

The exclamatory uses may not themselves be considered deictic, but the oblates (with the exception of the fifth) can also be used, with much the same meaning, as evidently deictic pronominals and as particles with deictic adjectival content. As adjectival particles, they follow the noun they modify:

Yuinù ia

“This stone I am giving you”

Kihantara ia

“She threw this thing I am giving you”

Note that oblates never inflect, not even for feminine agreement.

3. Pronominal and adjectival contrastive uses

Two of the oblates, ia and awì, have important pronominal/adjectival uses when contrasting two different options. The former is used with the preferred item, while the latter is used with the non-prefered item.

Wui kihantara awì, wakà ia.

“She didn’t throw that, but she threw this!”

Tyàyara awì, ìnga nao ia.

“She likes that, but she likes this more!”

It should be noted that the deixis in contrastive uses is entirely conceptual, and need not involve actual physical presence.

4. Discourse Deixis

Finally, the oblate ia is also the pronominal (and adjectival) used to refer to words and phrases that have occurred in speech:

“Tyàyara awì” – kosakkila ia

” ‘She likes that’ – that is true”

This use, however, is somewhat rare, as such constructions are generally avoided, and typically only occur in dialogue, where one participant discusses the words of the other.