This dissertation constitutes an exploration into the discourse anaphoric properties of Spanish demonstrative anaphors esto, eso and aquello (cf. this/that). This basic issue, largely ignored in the studies of Spanish linguistics so far, is fully addressed here from a semantic and pragmatic perspective. Thus, a comprehensive corpus study is carried out with an aim at uncovering the speaker's preferences regarding the referential features of Spanish demonstrative pronouns and a detailed study provided that explores into the morphosyntactic and semantic nature of their most common abstract referents.
As these elements lack any sort of explicit ostension, Spanish demonstrative pronouns have been traditionally considered as not belonging in the group of deictic expressions. As a consequence of that, only their pronominal nature has been taken into consideration so far when applied to their discourse behavior. Here, I provide a characterization for Spanish demonstrative pronouns as generalized quantifiers and defend the idea that these elements still retain a deictic component that would allow me to group them on a par with demonstrative determiners. This deictic component that demonstrative pronouns have, though clearly not in the form of an overt pointing act in the canonical sense, is rather conceived of as presuppositional in nature.
Based on the speaker's referential preferences when it comes to make use of demonstrative pronouns to anaphorically refer in discourse to eventualities, and attested by a corpus study carried out with that purpose, I also defend the idea that while demonstrative pronouns esto and eso seem to have lost any trace of a [± proximity] spatio-temporal condition, demonstrative pronoun aquello is still marked with a [+ distal] feature. This content, which is also modeled in terms of setting-up presuppositional DRSs for demonstrative pronouns, it also allowed me to postulate a reduction of the tripartite system of Spanish demonstrative pronouns into a basic binary system whereby anaphors esto and eso would be grouped together as being unspecified with respect to proximity and aquello being the term most frequently used in modern Spanish to mark distance along the temporal dimension.