Just the converse of this question, really: are there any spoken languages that don't have distinct proximal and distal pronouns (or affixes)?

(I limit it to spoken languages, because as this answer notes, in signed languages one can just point. I suppose one could interpret that as lacking spatial deixis or having an infinite number of distinctions, according to one's preference.)

  • One has an infinite number of distinctions in spoken language, too -- intonation varies continuously like music, and interacts with lexical items as well. There are plenty of examples of deictic expressions that accompany gestures, like yea big, or over there.
    – jlawler
    Commented Jun 29, 2022 at 19:09
  • I don't know how you currently classify the use of dieser in German, which has lost or is losing distance distinctions that used to be provided with other words, like jener. I think you now use dieser with optional words (loosely the equivalent of "here" and "there") to clarify distance when important. I think Russia is similar. Commented Jun 29, 2022 at 19:39
  • @Vegawatcher Scandinavian has done the same (though using den which was originally distal) – but the optional words that follow, equivalent to here and there are still deictic. Though there are languages that don’t have deictic pronouns (e.g., Irish), I’m not aware of any languages that don’t distinguish between ‘here’ and ‘there’ (or indeed between ‘now’ and ‘then’) in some way. Commented Jun 30, 2022 at 6:52
  • @JanusBahsJacquet I've edited the question. Yes I'm sure all language would have lexical items that can be used to indicate the difference.
    – adam.baker
    Commented Jun 30, 2022 at 11:00


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