Currently, I am doing some research on indexicals, by which I mean words like:
- today, tomorrow, yesterday
- present, current
For ease of reference, let’s call these the ‘standard’ indexicals. The few languages with which I’m familiar contain (translations/equivalents of) the standard indexicals. However, I also know of a few non-standard indexicals. In particular, English has ‘yesteryear’, which is like ‘yesterday’ and denotes the previous year (or the past more generally). Similarly, some German dialects have ‘heuer’ (not be confused with ‘heute’), which means the current year; so, ‘heuer’ is to ‘year’ what ‘today’ is to ‘day’.
Now, my question is: does anybody know of any language that contains non-standard indexicals, like ‘yesteryear’ and ‘heuer’? Similarly, are there languages that lack one or more of the standard indexicals?
Another, less urgent question: does anyone know a language that contains synonymous indexicals? E.g., German has both ‘jetzt’ and ‘nun’, both meaning ‘now.
EDIT in response to a comment by @Atamiri
I called the indexicals on my list ‘standard’ because they exist in all the languages with which I’m familiar (again, that’s not many). More particularly, they exist there as words – at least according to one way of individuating words. (Focus on 'I', 'now', and 'here' if you don't think 'to-day' etc. can count as words.) By contrast, there’s no word for heuer in English and we must use a compound (viz. ‘this (current) year’) to translate it. So, the kind of example I’m looking for goes a bit like this: there’s this language, Example-ese, and in Example-ese, there’s the indexical word ‘dexi’, and ‘dexi’ is roughly synonymous with ‘last month’ – but ‘de’ doesn’t mean ‘last’, and ‘xi’ doesn’t mean ‘month’. (Of course, 'dexi' doesn't have to mean 'last month' or 'next week' or anything temporal. I'd also be interested if there's an indexical (word) that denotes the speaker's birth place, say, or the person sitting opposite the speaker.)