This paper deals with Slavic discourse deixis comparing Russian, Polish, Czech and Bulgarian demonstrative and personal pronouns. In general, the Slavic proximal pronouns have precedence over the distal ones. Proximal pronouns, such as Russian eto, Polish to, and Bulgarian tova, are employed more frequently and widely than their distal counterparts to, tamto and onova. The distance-neutral pronoun to in Modern Czech was also a proximal pronoun in the past. These Slavic proximal and former-proximal pronouns function as a discourse deixis marker, whereas, in most other languages, the discourse deixis is mainly a function of distal or non-proximal demonstrative pronouns.
However, the Russian, Polish, Czech, and Bulgarian discourse deixis differs in distal demonstrative and personal pronouns. In general, the Polish and Czech discourse deixis does not employ the distal demonstrative pronoun tamto or the personal pronoun ono. The Russian distal demonstrative pronoun to is actively used as a discourse deixis marker, and the personal pronoun ono can also be used to refer to the preceding discourse, though it is not frequent. In Bulgarian the distal demonstrative pronoun onova is rarely used to refer to a discourse, but the personal pronoun to frequently indicates a discourse that is repeatedly referred to in a text.
The discourse deixis, which is a peripheral deixis and can be both deixis and anaphora, reveals different characteristics in different Slavic languages. In Russian, where all of the proximal, distal, and personal pronouns function as a discourse deixis marker, the deixis itself plays a crucial role in distinguishing these three pronouns from each other, revealing the speaker’s psychological, emotional, temporal, and cognitive proximity to or distance from a given discourse.
In Bulgarian, the most analytic Slavic language, the personal pronoun is used more as a discourse deixis marker to reveal the highest givenness of a discourse, and it seems that Bulgarian discourse deixis is more anaphoric than the other Slavic discourse deixis is.