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Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Deixis

                Deixis is different for the different people.  Buhler (1934) said that Deixis is any expression which located a referent in space or time. Particularly location in space and time are relative to the speaker and participatory status. Thus, someone referring to a book held by another person would say that book. But the holder of the book referring to the same book would say this book. In time situation, referring to 8 May on 7 May, one would say tomorrow, but referring to 8 May on 9 May, one would say yesterday. A speaker refers to himself as I, but his hearer, referring to the same person would say you.
                We shall initially recognize of 5 main types of deixis: they are, person deixis, spatial deixis, temporal deixis, social deixis, and discourse deixis.
1.       Person deixis
Person deixis basically involves the speaker, known as the first person. The addressee known as the second person and the other person in speech situation, neither speaker nor hearer, these are known as the third person. All of these are at least in English.
In many languages, pronoun usage encodes social deixis. Notice that the third person singular forms also encode gender. It is important to know realize that the occurrence of gender in these forms is not deictic. That is to say, it is not sensitive to aspects of the speech situation.

Singular
Plural
first person
I/me
We/us
Second person
You
you
Third person
He/him, she/her, it
They/them

2.       Spatial deixis
Spatial deixis manifest it principally in the form of locative adverbs such as here and there, and demonstratives such as this and that.  The proximal term here means something like “region relatively close to the speaker”, and there means “relatively distant from the speaker”. It is important to realize, however, that ‘relative closeness’ is textually determined. Here may represent an area less than the square meter on which the speaker is standing, or it could be something much vaster, such as here in our local galaxy cluster. This is another species definiteness here is meaningless unless the bearer can locate the dividing line (in terms of distance) between here and there. (Paradoxically, there is no limit to how far away here can extend.)
The spatial deictic shows a similar sort of dominance relation the personal pronouns. We can illustrate this with this and that. The point is that the combination of this book and that book must be collectively referred to as these books but not those books. This encourages us to think of this as the first person deictic.
3.       Temporal deixis
                  Temporal deixis function to locate points or intervals on the time axis, using (ultimately) the moment of utterance as a reference point. There are thus three major division of the time axis, (i) before the moment of utterance, (ii) at the time of utterance, (iii) after the time of utterance. The most basic temporal deictic in English are now and then. Now is in some ways a kind of temporal here  some ways a kind of temporal ish ii) at the time of utterance, (iii) after ltimately) the moment of utterance as a referre, and displays the same capacity for indefinite extension. Then points away from the present, but it is different as to direction which is normally indicated contextually (we were happy then; OK, I’ll se you then).
                  Temporal deictics depend heavily on calendric notions. Id we understand the term to subsume both clock and calendar. For instance, today, tomorrow, and yesterday designate respectively. For parallel references to other periods, we must use the terms this, last and next. With these, there are complications (and uncertainties) according to whether the time period is referred to by means of proper name or not. Consider, first, cases where a proper name is not used. Expressions such as this week, last week, last year, and next year are all interpreted calendrically, that is to say, to take the example of week, last week means “ the period of seven days beginning on Sunday or Monday preceding the corresponding period which is includes the time of utterance”.
                  If the proper name of a period is time is used, additional restriction come into play. Take the name of days, first. The lexical items today, yesterday, and tomorrow have priority, so that, for instance, this Wednesday cannot be uttered on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. It is used to refer to the Wednesday of preceding week.
4.       Social deixis
Social deixis is exemplified by certain uses of the so-called TV (tul vous) pronouns in many languages. It will be illustrated here using examples form French. Arguments will be presented that not all the usage of TV pronouns falls properly under the heading of deixis. One which incontrovertibly does is where relative social status of speaker and hearer is signaled. There are three basic possibilities involving two communicants A and B: (i) A addresses B with tu, B addresses A with vous, (ii) B addresses A with tu, A addresses B with vous, (iii) A and B borh use the same form (either tu or vous). The basic parameter here is social status: tu points downwards along the scale or social status with the speaker’s position as reference point. Vous points upwards, while symmetrical uses signals social equality.
5.       Discourse deixis
Discourse deixis refers to such matters as the use of this to point to future discourse elements, that is things which are about to be said as in listen to this, it will kill you! and that to point to past discourse elements as in That was not a very nice thing to say.  In a similar spirit, the hereby of an explicit per formative sentence could be said to point to current discourse: notice is hereby served that is payment is further delayed; appropriate legal action will be taken. It is sometimes claimed that certain sentence adverbs, such as therefore and furthermore, include an element of discourses deixis in their meaning, as they require the recovery of a piece of previous discourse to be understood. Therefore and furthermore could be glossed: “it follows from that” and “in addition to that”, respectively, (where that is a discourse deictic). A distinction can be made between discourse deixis and anaphora, although the two are obviously related. Anaphora picks up a previous reference to an extra linguistic entity and repeats it. In john entered the room, He looked tired. He refers to the same person that john refers to, but it does not strictly refer to the word john itself. It must be admitted that in reference to a case like therefore the distinction between discourse deixis and anaphora becomes somewhat blurred.
6.       Psychological use of spatial deixis
It may be presumed that spatial deixis is the prototypical variety and is certainly the source for much metaphoric generalization. A relatively simple extension is into what Langacker clls “abstract space”. This is exemplified by such usages as: here the argument runs into difficulties. What do you think of this idea of mine/that idea of George’s? Ideas or arguments do not literarily occupy space, but it is easy to think of them as if they did.
Another extended use of spatial deixis is to signal emotive standing distancing or closeness. Example:
1.       A             : Here comes jane
B             : I can’t stand that woman

2.       This beautiful city of ours.



7.       Gestural and symbolic deixis
Some uses of deictics require for the interpretation continuous monitoring of relevant aspects of the speech situation: in the clearest cases, the hearer has to be able to see the speaker and their gestures:
1.       Put one over there and the other one here
2.       This is the finger that hurts, not that one
3.       Press the button when I give the word – now!!!
4.       I want three valontreesrs: you, you, and you
These are examples of gestural deixis. In other cases, such minute monitoring of the seech situation is not necessary and in general, the relevant parameters for the deictic interpretation are established over relatively long perions of a conversation/discourse. This is called symbolic deixis:
1.       (People at an exhibition) isn’t it interesting!
2.       Isn’t this weather gorgeous?
3.       I’ve lived in this town for twenty years.
4.       Those foreigners are always whining.
In general, the difference between these would seem to be a matter of degree. However, there is one significant consequence of the distinction and that is that only in the case of gestural use that the place denoted by here need not include the location of the speaker (e.g will you please sign here, sir?)
8.       Deictic vs. non-deictic uses of locative espressions
It is sometimes claimed that certain locative expressions can be used either deictically or non-deictically. An example is the following:
1.       Mary lives in the house opposite the church
2.       Mary lives in the house opposite
The claim is that opposite is used non-deictically in number 1, but deictically in number 2 where it is interpreted as “the house opposite the speaker”. However, this claim is at lease disputable.
Example where the speaker is not the reference point includes the following:
1.       Follow my instruction carefully. Walk slowly towards the tree. You will find the box about one meter in front of the tree
2.       Tell john to follow my instruction carefully. He must walk slowly towards the tree. He will find the box one meter in front of the tree.

 

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