Essay on Deixis
Topics: Grammatical person, Pragmatics / Pages: 7 (1588 words) / Published: Dec 17th, 2011


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

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.

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