Deixis and Definiteness

Topics: Noun, Grammar, Semantics Pages: 4 (672 words) Published: December 18, 2012
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Deictic word
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Definition Deictic word One which takes some element of its meaning from the situation ( the speaker, the addressee, the time and the place) of the utterance in which it is used. The general phenomenon of its occurrence is called Deixis If Mary is preparing to travel to the USA , her mother says: “ you should bring warm clothes, the weather is cold there .“ Deictic word If a visitor coming back from Halong Bay says: “ I took many beautiful pictures there .” Some types of deixis

Personal deixis: I, you, he, …
Demonstratives: this, that, these, those
Spatial deixis: here, there, etc
Temporal deixis: yesterday, today, tomorrow, etc
Some verbs have deictic ingredient
Come, take, bring, go, etc
Ex : “Go to the school “ (speaker is not at the school) Tenses are also regarded as deictic
Ex: “ I graduated from high school in 2004.”
This utterance can be made in or after the year 2004 In reported speech, deictic words in original utterance have to be changed to preserve the original reference Ex: John said “I won lottery yesterday.”

John said he had won lottery the day before
Can you point out which words are deictic?
“ I was there yesterday ”
personal spatial temporal

Definition Definiteness: A feature of noun phrase selected by the speaker to convey his assumption that the hearer will be able to identify the referent of the noun phrase Example :
1- The sun because there are only one sun, The star definite , one star , one moon in The moon the context 2- I was in bed when the phone rang . The phone is definite (= the phone in my house)

Three main types of definite noun phrase in English
- Proper name: Mary, Princess Diana
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