A Contrastive Analysis of Urdu and English deixis.

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A Contrastive Analysis of Urdu and English deixis.

  1. 1. 1SynopsisTranslation of Urdu and English Deixis:A Contrastive AnalysisPrepared by: Sidra Iqbal (10050702-001)Supervised by: Muhammad Athar KhurshidUniversity of Gujrat,Department of English
  2. 2. 2IntroductionWords in a sentence stay as lexical and grammatical categories. Lexical categories mean thecontent words of a language, while grammatical categories are the function words. Deicticexpressions are found in both but mostly in grammatical categories. Grammatical categoriesinclude the notion of Deixis, the referring expressions of a language without a fixed referent.Mostly, they are the person time, and place related expressions (Levinson,1983). It may be usefulto make a list of such expressions in Urdu and English languages and see which might befacilitating, or obstructing in the second language learning. Therefore, the concern of this studyis to see how English and Urdu languages display their respective deictic properties.What is Deixis?An utterance derives much of its meaning from different grammatical features of language.These features play a very important role in understanding the context of the utterance. Deixis issuch feature. It consists of referring expressions, used for referring to objects inside or outside ofthe text. E.g.You‟ll have to bring that back tomorrow, because they aren‟t here now.The above sentence and many other sentences like this are highly context-based. Thereare different expressions in this sentence which are referring to the objects inside and outside thetext. These expressions are called deixis, an important aspect of pragmatics. All naturallanguages have these pointing expressions in them. Deixis has always been very important topicof research in semantics and pragmatics.The need of contrastive analysis of Urdu and English deictic expressionsPakistan is a country where many languages are spoken in different communities. Urdu is thelingua franca, and English is the official language. For this both the languages are taught ascompulsory subjects at school and college level. Because of the extensive use of both thelanguages in Pakistani society, the practice of using mixed code (English mixed in Urdu) hasbecome a common phenomenon. It may be useful from the pedagogic point of view to knowwhich deictic expressions in both the languages are facilitating and which expressions areobstructing. As a first step towards the goal, a detailed list of the maximum deictic expressions inboth the languages can be prepared. The items on both lists can be classified according to theirmutual translinguistic compatibility. Some of the expressions in both languages may haveunmatchable semantic roles; others may have differing distributions of their respective sentencestructures. The knowledge of their mutual differences may be helpful in making the mind of theconfused learners clear, who happen to commit errors in the use of English deictic expressions.
  3. 3. 3Theoretical backgroundDeixis in EnglishThe reference of many words and expressions relies on the context of the situation of theutterance as well as the time and place in all languages. This aspect of pragmatics is known as“Deixis”. This is the technical term derived from Greek for one the most important features.Deixis is the basic way of establishing the relationship between the utterance and its context. Itsmeaning are “indicating” or “pointing”.This term is borrowed from Greek and is used for demonstrative, first and second personpronouns, tense, specific time and place adverbs like “now” and “here”, and a variety of othergrammatical features which are directly involved in the context of the utterance.Levinson (1983) describes that deixis includes; Personal and possessive pronouns(I , my, mine, yours) Demonstrative pronouns (this, that) Spatial and temporal adverbs ( here, there, now, then) Articles (the)Two major types of deixis:a) Anaphoric deixis: this is used to refer to backward in the sentence. Example aredemonstrative pronouns,“Such”, “said”, “given” etc.b) Cataphoric deixis: this is referring to forward. Example are;“the following”, certain”, “this (let me say this)”, etc.Deixis is such linguistics feature that is bound to the context of the speaker as well as the . Theseexpressions have their basic function and impact in face-to-face interaction, where utterancessuch as following can be easily understood by the hearer.E.g. “I will put this here.”Now the detail of deixis is being given.i. Person deixisPerson deixis concerns the utterance of the speaker. It is the encoding of the role of theparticipants in the speech in which the utterance is delieverd.These deixes are further dividedinto three categories, namely “first person”, “second person” and “third person”. The deixis,used for “first person” are the grammaticalization of speaker‟s reference to himself/herself.The “second person” category refers to the speaker‟s reference to one or more addressees, andthe “third person” is the indication of the persons or entities which are neither the speaker northe addressee.
  4. 4. 4ii. Spatial deixisSpace or place deixis tells the way in which the place or space of the utterance is beingspecified. As every utterance is delivered in any specific place. Spatial deixis are used tospecify that particular and relative location. English makes use of only two spatial adverbslike “here” and “there” but in some older texts, a much larger set of spatial deicticexpressions can be found. E.g. “younder”(more distant from speaker), “thither”(to thatplace) and “thence”(from that place).One thing is to be noted in spatial deixis that the location or the place from the speaker‟sperspective can be sometimes fixed mentally as well as physically (Levinson,1983) . Forinstance, speakers away from their home place will continue to use “here” to refer to theirhome place, though they will be physically distant from their homes. And sometimes they(the speakers) will project themselves in some other location before being there. E.g. “I‟llcome there later”( going towards the addressee‟s location).iii. Temporal deixisAs it has been mentioned above that every utterance is delivered in a specific place, samelike that every utterance is delivering a particular time period. This time specification is toldthrough the temporal deixis. These are concerned with the time adverbs.These are also true with the following deictic expressions such as; Yesterday Tomorrow Today Tonight Next week etc.Now like all other deictic expressions this temporal deixis also depends on knowing therelevant time for the understanding of the utterance.iv. Social deixisSocial deixis are used for the social information or the interaction with the society. Thisincludes the social status and familiarity with each other. In English there are two majorforms of social deixis as follows;T-V distinction:HonorificsT-V distinction.These are basically two versions of formality and informality of “you” forms of socialdeixis. The diverse usage of these expressions indicates the formality or informality ofthe speaker towards the addressee.Honorifics:
  5. 5. 5This notion is much complex than t-v distinction, though they deliver the same socialinformation but they can involve different words being based on the status of the interactants.v. Discourse deixisThese deictic expressions deal with the expressions that refer to the different portions ofthe text itself. They tell the utterance‟s relation to the surrounding text.Deixis in Urdu (Wikipedia, n.d.)First person Second person Third personSingular (i)Plural(you)Formal(you)Informal(you)Veryinformal(thou)Singular(this)Plural(these)Singular(that)Plural(those)‫ںیم‬Mein‫مہ‬Hum‫آپ‬ap‫مت‬Tum‫وت‬Tu‫ہی‬Yeh‫ہی‬Ye/eh‫وہ‬voh‫وہ‬Vo/oh‫ےھجم‬Mujey‫ںیمہ‬humen‫آپ‬apko‫ں‬‫ہی‬‫م‬ُ‫ت‬Tumen‫ے‬‫ھ‬‫ج‬ُ‫ت‬Tujeِ‫ا‬‫ےس‬Isseِ‫ا‬‫ںیہن‬inhen‫ُےس‬‫ا‬usse‫ُںیہن‬‫ا‬Unhen‫ےھجم‬Mujh‫مہ‬Hum‫آپ‬ap‫مت‬tum‫ےھجت‬tujhِ‫ا‬‫س‬Is‫ن‬‫ا‬in‫ُس‬‫ا‬us‫ُن‬‫ا‬Un‫ریما‬Mera‫ارا‬ ‫م‬‫ہ‬Hamara‫اک‬‫آپ‬apka‫اہمترا‬Tumara‫ریتا‬Tera‫اک‬‫س‬‫ا‬Iska‫اک‬‫ن‬‫ا‬inka‫اک‬‫ُس‬‫ا‬uska‫اک‬‫ُن‬‫ا‬UnkaA few Urdu deitic expressions have been explained below: ‫آپ‬/ āpThis form is used very often among Urdu speakers. It shows respect for the addressee. Peopleuse this form even with the strangers to give them respect.In many families this form of firstperson is used even for the young members of the family. The plural form of “ap” can be used as“ap log” (“you people”) and “ap sub” (“you all”).
  6. 6. 6 Tum (‫)مت‬This is informal version of “ap”, used for some familiarity with the addressee. This form of urdudeixis does not have any difference between its singular form and plural form. The problem hereis that it could not make difference either the addressee is the one person or more than one. Thisis commonly used for the addressee, younger than the speaker and mostly used at home. The oneway of differentiating among the singular and plural is calling “(tum) ‫مت‬ (“tum log”) ‫ولگ‬‫.مت‬ Tu (ُِ ُ‫)ت‬This form shows very much frankness and closeness of the speaker to the addressee. This is usedbetween friends, very much familiar to one another. Its plural form is also very difficult to make.This form is mostly used for personal relationship with a person. But this is also used in moviesbetween the killers or criminals.Contrastive analysisContrastive analysis is the systematic study of a pair of languages with a view to identify theirstructural differences and similarities. It means the comparison of two languages by payingattention to differences and similarities between languages being compared. It was firstsuggested by Whorf (1941) as “contrastive linguistics”, a comparative study which emphasizeson analyzing the structural differences and similarities as well.After some period of time this term contrastive analysis was redefined as sub discipline oflinguistics, concerned with the comparison of two or more languages or subsystems of languagesin order to check the linguistics differences and similarities. As well as this study is concerned,contrastive analysis will be done of two languages namely, English and Urdu. What is differentabout this study is that only the structure of the referring expressions of both languages will beanalyzed.Objective To record the semantic and syntactic differences and similarities of Urdu and Englishdeitic expressions.Research question Which deictic expressions of English and Urdu are synonymous? How many are synonymous, and how many are not? What alternatives are used in the absence of a compatible deictic expression in eachlanguage? Do the deictic expressions of both the languages project similar or different propertiesonto the structure of sentence?
  7. 7. 7Literature reviewMuch work has been done in this field in other languages. “Deixis are those words in a languagethat entirely depend on context (Fromkin et. al., 1991).” Methven A. (2006) quotes Wei (2001)who says “meaning of a deictic term cannot be completely understood by knowing the contextalone. Cultural connotations of a particular term also have to be understood. Buhler (1934/1990)uses this term “Deixis” for the first time to show its pointing function in an analysis of language.Lyons (1977) says that text depends contextually on the deictic expressions.It is not uncommonthat the meaning of a deictic term cannot be understood by having the knowledge of contextonly. It is not easy to translate the deictic expressions from one language to another becausethere are many restrictions to transfer the context of an utterance.”The similarities and differences of deixis in English and Arabic languages have beenworked out by Semlali (2006) He concludes that it is quite different to use the deictic words ofone language into another because they have quite different usage patterns in their own languagesystems. English is two term system while on the other hand Arabic is three term system. Thesubject pronoun system of the two languages is greatly different. English is a five person systemwhile on the other hand, Arabic is different from it and have eight person system (Semlali,2006).Another work has been done on deixis in Chinese language. “There are many problemsencountered when translating deitic terms between English and Chinese” (Methven, 2006). “Insome cases there are a greater number of deictic terms in Chinese. For example, „I‟ in Englishhas two possible translations in Chinese; and on the other hand certain expressions in Englishhave no alternatives in Chinese. For example Chinese has no definite and indefinite articles, theand a respectively” (Xiong, 2001). He also points out the contrast between the repetition ofpronouns in English and their omission in Chinese. There are some important differences inEnglish and Chinese deictic expressions, for instance English includes subject and objectpersonal pronouns (Swan, 1995), whereas Chinese does not have these.Therefore in many English translations, the appropriate deictic terms and articles have tobe added. Chinese is different from English in the way information is presented, that is, the orderof information. In English, some time information is placed in front of the sentence, while inChinese this practice is reversed. For example, 14 May 2012 would be written in reverse order inChinese language as: 2012, May 14. (Methven 2006). In modern Chinese, plural personalpronouns are made by adding bound morpheme_men in single personal pronoun (Li &Thompson), so Chinese has two translations of we that are women and zanmen.
  8. 8. 8MethodologySince the present research aims at exploring certain possibilities in the area of Deictic ExpressionTranslation, and later, presenting them in a systematic order, it may be categorized as instance ofthe Exploratory and Descriptive research. Both the qualitative and quantitative approaches willbe adopted in this work. This is because the former naturally agrees with this type of research.The latter may be needed to point out frequency of occurrences.The technique of comparison adapted from Contrastive Analysis Hypothesis. Lado‟smodel of Contrastive Analysis (1957) as quoted by Ellis (1994)is given below. In addition tothis, the features of expressions may also be compared on the basis of their distribution in thesyntax of their respective languages.The process of comparison here is based on the procedures that are drawn by Lado (1957) whostates:"we begin with an analysis of the foreign language and compare its structure bystructure with the native language. For each structure we need to know if there isa structure in the native language (1) signalled the same way, that is, by the someformal device, (2) having the same meaning, and similarly distributed in thesystem of that language."Data CollectionFor the collection of data, an Urdu short story „Overcoat‟ by Ghullam Abbas and its Englishversion (the one available in the Punjab Textbook Board‟s published book of English for 11thgrade) have been taken up for the initial comparison of deictic expressions.
  9. 9. 9Lado’s model of Contrastive Analysis (1957)Type of difficulty L1: English ExampleL2: Spanishx1. Split x for is either por or paray2. New o..............o grammatical gender3. Absent x..............o do as a tense carrier4. Coalesced xx his/her is realized as a singley form su.5. Correspondence x..............x -ing, -ndo as complement withverbs of Perception, e.g.I saw the men running;vi a los hombres comenendoAnalysisThe deictic expressions picked up from the short story „Overcoat‟ will be analyzed according tothe abovementioned table. Moreover, the syntactic possibilities may also be considered.ConclusionThe summary of the findings, and possible suggestions.
  10. 10. 10ReferencesBuhler, K. (1934/1990). Theory of Language: The Representational Function of Language.Translated by Donald Fraser Goodwin. Amsterdam: John Benjamins PublishingCompany.Ellis, R. (1994). The Study of Second Language Acquisition. Oxford University Press, HongKong.Geethakumary, V. (2002, September 6). A Contrastive Analysis of Hindi and Malayalam:vol:2.A Ph.D. Dissertation.Griffiths, P. (2006). An Introduction to English Semantics and Pragmatics. Edinburgh:Edinburgh University Press.Huang, Y. (2007). Pragmatics. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Levinson, S. (1983). Pragmatics. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Lyons, J. (1977, August 01). Semantics: vol:1. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Lyons, J. (1977, October 27). Semantics: vol:2. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Methven, A. (2006, December). A Comparative Study of Deixis in Chinese and English. London.Semlali, H. (2006). Translating Deixis A Subjective Experience. A Ph.D Dissertation. Universityof Edinburgh: Edinberg.Swan, M. (1995). Practical English usage. Oxford university press.Xiong, Q. (2001). Comparison of English and Chinese deixis and their translation (in Chinese).Journal of Jiangnan Petroleum University of Staff and Workers, vol. 14, No.3.Yule, G. (1985). The Study of Language. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Yule, G. (1996). Pragmatics: Oxford introduction to language study. Oxford: Oxford UniversityPress.Wikipedia. (n.d.). Urdu Pronouns. Retrieved from http://en.wikibooks.org/wiki/Urdu/Pronouns,on 2:25.

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