ESSAY ON DEIXIS 1. Introduction This essay is going to analyse one of the principal topics when dealing with textual and discourse linguistics. This outstanding theme is deixis. In the following sections, deixis will be defined, classified, described and exemplified. In the last part, and after having studied all these points, there will be a conclusion and a bibliography which has been of great help in order to do this paper. 2. What is deixis? Deixis is a phenomenon of great importance for the interpretation of utterances.
It is noticeable in the following examples. If a person does not know when a message was composed, the receiver of it will not know when the action will happen, such as in I’ll be back in an hour. Another example is Meet me here a week from now. In this case, the addressee of the message does not know who he has to meet, neither where nor when. What the essay tries to say with this is that there is a term, called context of utterance which is essential for communication to take place completely.
Bearing this idea in mind, deixis can be defined as a phenomenon in which the relationship between language and context is reflected in the structures of a language. This term comes from Greek, and means ‘pointing’ or ‘indicating’. Any linguistic form used to accomplish this ‘pointing’ is called deictic expression, also known as indexical. Some examples are I’m reading your message now or What’s that? As it can be observed, the deictic expression can be a pronoun, a demonstrative, or a special time or place adverb.
Apart from this, it has to be known that there are two main usages of deixis. On the one hand, gestural deixis appears when an object is pointed at and referred to as this or that, or direction of gaze, tone of voice… For instance: I broke this finger. On the other hand, symbolic deixis requires generally only basic spatio-temporal knowledge of the utterance, such as: I love this city. 3. Types of deixis With regard to types of deixis, it has to be pointed out that there are several distinctions depending on the linguists.
The more traditional types are person deixis, time deixis and place deixis. But, according to Fillmore and Lyons, there are two new types which must be included with the previous ones. These more recent types are discourse deixis and social deixis. The following sections of the paper are going to study them a bit more deeply. 3. 1. Traditional types of deixis As it has been mentioned above, there are three traditional types of deixis. These are person deixis, time deixis and place deixis. 3. 1. 1. Person deixis
Person deixis concerns with the grammatical persons involved in an utterance. These participants are as follow. Firstly, it is found those directly involved in the act of communication (the speaker and the addressee). Secondly, there are those no directly involved on it (over hearers). And thirdly, those mentioned in the utterance. In English, these distinctions are generally indicated by pronouns, as the following examples show: I am going to the cinema; they tried to hurt me, but he came to the rescue; Would you like to have dinner? 3. 1. 2. Time deixis
Time, or temporal, deixis concerns with the various times involved in and referred to in an utterance. Some examples are now, then, soon, the use of different verb tenses… Time adverbs can be relative to the time. This time can be of two types. Encoding time, when an utterance is made. Or decoding time, when an utterance is heard. For example: It is raining now, but hope when you read this it will be sunny; He told me: “I will be there tomorrow” 3. 1. 3. Place deixis Place deixis, also known as space deixis, concerns itself with the spatial locations relevant to an utterance.
Similarly to person deixis, the locations may be either those of the speaker and the addressee or those of people or objects being referred to. The most outstanding English examples are the adverbs here/there and the demonstratives this and that, and their plural forms. For example: I enjoy living in this city; Here is where we will place the statue; She was sitting over there. Languages usually show at least a two-way referential distinction in their deictic system. It can be proximal, which means near or closer to the speaker (this, here).
But it can also be distal, which means far from the speaker and/or closer to the addressee (that, there) 3. 2. New categories following Lyons and Fillmore As it was mentioned at the beginning of section three, apart from the traditional types, Lyons and Fillmore suggested two more types of deixis. These are discourse deixis and social deixis. 3. 2. 1. Discourse deixis Discourse deixis, also referred to as textual, refers to the use of the expressions within an utterance to refer to parts of the discourse that contains that utterance.
For example: This is a great story (this refers to an upcoming piece of the discourse); or That was an amazing day (that refers to a previous piece of the discourse) An interesting point and a bit difficult one as well, is the distinction that must be made between discourse deixis and anaphora (when an expression makes reference to the same referent as a prior term) being the following a sample of anaphora: Mike is an incredible athlete; he came in first in the race where he makes reference to Mike, which appears previously.
Lyons points out that it is possible for an expression to be both deictic and anaphoric at the same time. As in I was born in London and I have lived here/there all my life. Here and there function anaphorically in their reference to London, and deictically in that the choice between here and there indicates whether the speaker is or is not currently in London. The main point to distinguish the two phenomena is the next one. When that expression refers to the same item as a prior linguistic expression, it is anaphoric reference.
For example, This dress is beautiful but it is too loose. In this case, the pronoun it refers back to this dress. On the contrary, when an expression refers to another linguistic expression or a piece of discourse, it is discourse deixis. For instance, “I hate cloudy days”, John said. But this sentence is not true, where this refers to the whole sentence “I hate cloudy days”. 3. 2. 2. Social deixis Social deixis is concerned with the social information that is encoded within various expressions, such as relative social status and familiarity.
There are two main forms of it. These are the so-called T-V distinction and Honorifics. First of all, T-V distinction receives that name from the Latin tu and vos, which are the singular and plural versions of you respectively. This can be defined as a phenomenon that takes place when a language has two different second-person pronouns, as is the case of French or Spanish, but not English. The varying usage of these pronouns may indicate formality, familiarity, or solidarity between interacts. The second type of social deixis is honorifics.
Honorifics are expressions which indicate higher status. There are two main types of honorifics. These are relational honorifics, which express the relationship between different participants. And absolute honorifics, which depend on the speaker and who is he/she talking to. At the same time, relational honorifics are divided into three subtypes. Firstly, there are addressee honorifics, which express the social status of the hearer. Secondly, there are referent honorifics, which express the status of the person being spoken about.
And thirdly, there are bystander honorifics, which express the status of someone who is nearby, but not a participant in the conversation. For instance, It was the King who made that decision or Would you like some coffee, Mr President? With regard to absolute honorifics, it can be talked about authorized speakers, who are those who can use words which cannot be used for others; and authorized recipients, which the words they are said depend on who they are (in some languages, depending on the sex of the listener) It is not common in English. 4. Conclusion To sum up, just simply show again the ideas described above.
Deixis is a Greek term which means pointing or indicating, accomplished by different deictic expressions or indexicals, which may be a pronoun, a determiner, an adverb, depending on the type of deixis. There are several types of deixis. First of all, the traditional types of deixis are person deixis (I, you, he, she, it… ), time deixis (now, then… ) and place deixis (here, there, this, that… ) Apart from these traditional types, Fillmore and Lyons suggest two more types. Discourse or text deixis (this, that… ) and social deixis (polite pronouns, titles of address… To conclude, it is important to remember that the concept of deixis is highly related to that of context, which is known to be a great participant for communication to fully exist. That is a reason why deixis is, at the same time, so important in the studying of textual and discourse linguistics. 5. Bibliography -Levinson S. C. 1987. Pragmatics. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. -Mey, J. L. 1998. Concise Encyclopedia of Pragmatics. Amsterdam: Elsevier. -Yule, G. 1996. Pragmatics. Oxford: Oxford University Press. -Leech, G. N. 1983. Principles of Pragmatics. London: Longman.