Aug 04, 2020 - 06:01 AM
I agree with you Fabrice that in spoken French we native speakers tend to mix "ci" and "là". I wouldn't say that "ci" is particularly formal, yet we do tend to use a lot more "là" even when meaning "here", hence the confusion...
Là-bas does refer to a far away place, yet it's an independent adverb, so it cannot be used as a suffix, like -ci or -là.
As a beginner, I would recommend you not to pay too much attention to it, since people will perfectly understand you just using "ça" when pointing at something, which means both This and That, or using any demonstrative without even adding -ci or -là:
Ce sandwich - Cette salade
Just add -ci or -là if you really need to clarify that you want this one and not that one, or vice versa.
Ce sandwich-ci et pas ce sandwich-là
Cette salade-là et pas cette salade-ci...
Hope it helps!