NAFISAH NURZAKIYAH (0203514041)
UMI AISYAH SULISTYANING TYAS (0203514042)
SRY RATNA DEWI (0203514043)
OSCAR YUSTINO CARASCALAO (0203514058)
The Deixis term is borrowed from the Greek word for
pointing or indicating and has as prototypical or focal
exemplars the use of demonstratives, person pronouns,
tense, specific time and place adverbs, and a variety of
grammatical features tied directly to the circumstances of
Deixis also concerns ways in which the interpretation
of utterances depend on the analysis of that context of utterance.
Context of utterance
The facts of deixis should act as a constant reminder to theoretical linguists of the simple but
immensely important fact that natural languages are primarily designed, so to speak, for use in
face-to-face interaction, and thus there are limits to the extent to which they can be analyzed
without taking this into account (Lyons, 1977a: 589ff).
The importance of deictic information for the interpretation of utterances is perhaps best
illustrated by what happens when such information is lacking (Fillmore, 1975: 381).
I'll be back in an hour
In this utterance we cannot now when the speaker will be back
because we do not know when it was written.
Listen, I'm not disagreeing with you but with you, and not about this
but about this
Or, suppose we find a bottle in the sea, and inside it a message
Meet me here a week from now with a stick about this big
Does “deixis” belong to Semantics or
Deixis belongs within the domain of pragmatics, because it directly
concerns the relationship between the structure of languages and
the contexts in which they are used.
The Important Point
The important point, wherever the pragmatics/semantics boundary
is drawn, is that deixis concerns the encoding of many different
aspects of the circumstances surrounding the utterance, within the
utterance itself. Natural language utterances are thus 'anchored‘
directly to aspects of the context.
The topic of deixis, or as philosophers usually prefer, indexical expressions (or just indexicals),
may be usefully approached by considering how truth-conditional semantics deals with certain
natural language expressions. Suppose we identify the semantic content of a sentence with its
truth conditions, then the semantic content of
◦ Letizia de Ramolino was the mother of Napoleon
Then suppose we try to analyze:
◦ I am the mother of Napoleon
See these following example
You are the mother of Napoleon
This is an eighteenth-century man-trap
Mary is in love with that fellow over there
It is now 12.15
Sentences that contain such expressions and whose truth
values therefore depend on certain facts about the context of utterance
(identity of speakers, addressees, indicated objects, places and times,
etc.), are not of course in any way special or peculiar. For just about
every utterance has this context-dependency, due in no small part (at
least in many languages) to tense. For example:
There is a man on Mars
There was a man on Mars
Questions of Philosophical Interest
1. Whether all indexical expressions can be reduced to a single primary one?
2. Whether this final pragmatic residue can be translated out into some eternal context-free
According to Rusell the reduction in the first question was possible, by translating all indexicals (
or as he preferred, egocentric particulars) into expressions containing this, where the latter
referred to a subjective experience. The pronoun I would thus be rendered 'the person who is
experiencing this' (for severe difficulties with such a view, see Gale, 1968). Moreover, according
to Reichnbach, in relation with the second question, all indexicals involve an element of token-
reflexivity, i.e. refer to themselves, so that, for example, I means 'the person who is uttering this
token of the word I'. This view may be initially attractive, but it has many difficulties (Gale,
There are indeed token-reflexive or self-referring expression is
natural languages as the following:
This sentence contains five words
I hereby apologize
The syntax and semantics of classical logics (say, first order predicate calculus) make no such
provision. How should indexicals be accommodated, so that the notion of logical consequence,
as it applies for example to the inference as follows:
John Henry McTavitty is six feet tall and weighs zoo potrnds
John Henry McTavitty is six feet tall
I am six feet tall and weigh 2oo pounds
I am six feet tall
One way in which we can accommodate context-relativity is to say that
the proposition expressed by a sentence in a context is a function from
possible worlds and that context to truth values. A context will here
be a set of pragmatic indices, co-ordinates or reference points
(as they are variously called) for speakers, addressees, times of
utterance, places of utterance, indicated objects, and whatever else is
The man drinking champagne is Lord Godolphin
The man who can lift this stone is stronger than an ox
The first would most naturally have a referential use, where the description might in fact be
wrong (e.g. the man is actually drinking lemonade) but the reference succeed in any case; the
second would most naturally have an attributive use where the speaker would not have any
particular individual in mind (we could paraphrase the second utterance ‘whoever can lift this
stone is stronger than an ox '). But in many cases an utterance is potentially ambiguous between
these two usages. It is the speaker's intention and the addressee's successful location of the
intended referent that matter in the first usage, not the exactaptness of the description, so that
we could call this usage speaker reference (as opposed to semantic reference; Donnellan,
• Involve a series of categories of descriptive nature of deixis.
• The proponents: Buhler , Frei, Fillmore, and Lyons (summarized and systematized in the last
two proponents’ works).
• Traditional categories: person, place, time deixis.
• Add: discourse (text) deixis and social deixis.
• The role of participants
• First person, second person, third person
• Spatial locations relative to the location
• Proximal, distal
• Temporal points and spans relative to the time
• Coding time (CT)
• The text referring expression
• That, this
• Relative social distinction to participant-roles
• Social relationship between speaker and addressee (s)
of speaker is
Different usage of deictic terms
can only be interpreted with the reference to an audio-visual-tactile, and in
general a physical, monitoring of the speech event
Require for interpretation only knowledge of the basic spatio-temporal parameters
of the speech event
The use of word to introduce someone or something that is more fully identified
The word, typically a pronoun, used to maintain reference to someone or
something already mentioned
We have to consider about possible participant roles, so that we can then see how, and
to what extent, these roles are grammaticalized in different languages. The framework:
The speaker or spokesman can be distinct from the source of an utterance
The recipient distinct from the target
The hearers or bystanders distinct from addressees or targets
The basic grammatical distinctions are then categorized into first, second, and third
Time deixis makes ultimate reference to participant-role, so it is important to
distinguish the moment of utterance or coding time (CT) from the moment of
reception or receiving time (RT). (Levinson, 1983:73).
The deictic time adverbs in English refers to words and phrases like now,
then, today, yesterday, tomorrow, next week, last year, in three days, etc. Now
is a proximal term, as it indicates the time at which the speaker is producing
the utterance, as in (53), Then is a distal expression which applies to both past
and future time relative to the time of speaking, as in (55) .
(53) Pull the trigger now!
(54) I’m now working on a PhD
(55) I was just a kid then
Fillmore (1975) notes, these have two kinds of referent: they can either refer
to the entire span itself, as in (56), or to a point within the relevant span, as in
(56) Tomorrow is Wednesday
The deictic words yesterday,today, and tomorrow pre-emptive the calendrical. Thus the following said on
Thursday, can only be referring to next Thrusday, otherwise the speaker should have said today:
(58) I’ll see you on Thursday
The same holds if it is said on Wednesday, due to pre-emptive tomorrow.
In the application of next to calendrical names of days, an ambiguity arises: next Thursday can refer either to the
Thirsday of the week that succeeds the week that includes CT, or that Thursday that first follows CT.
Example: A Friday or a Saturday, these will coincide; and given the rule that today and tomorrow pre-empt
calendrical day names, on Wednesday and Thursday, next thursday can only mean the thursday of next week.
Time deixis is relevant to various other deictic elements in a language. Thus greetings are usually time-restricted,
(64) Good morning
Can only be used in the morning.
(65) Good night
Can only be used as a parting
Place deixisPlace deixis: specifies the locations relative to the speech event. Here and there are two pure place
deictic words in contemporary English and the demonstrative pronouns this and that. The concept
of distance is implied in them as well as in other words which have spatial deictic sense.
1. place deixis refers to proximity to or distance from the speaker.
These can be single words such as here, there , this , that
Example : Bring that here and Take this there
The words This and here (called proximal terms) are used when something is close to the speaker; that
and there (called distal terms) are used when something is away from the speaker.
2. … and words/expressions referring to direction and/or movement toward or away from the speaker.
Such as to my left, under the carpet, go, take, bring.
Example: When I’m in the office, you can come to see me.
Where come glosses as ‘movement towards the location of the speaker at the time of some other specific
The non-deictic conceptual organization of space includes:
All those distinctions between surfaces, spaces, enclosures, containers and so on, and
between fronts, backs tops, sides of objects. For example:
(77) This side of the box
Can mean ‘the surface of the box that can be called a side which is nearest to the location of
the speaker, but:
(78) This side of the tree
Simply means ‘that area of the tree visible from the point where the speaker (or the space
between that area and that point).
(79) The cat behind the car
Where behind can have either a deictic usage (i.e. The car intervenes between the cat and
speaker’s location), or a non deictic usage (i.e. The cat is at the intrinsic rear-end of the car).
(80) Bob is the man to the left of mark
Where Bob may be to Mark’s own left (non-deictic), or to the left from the speaker’s point of
4. DISCOURSE DEIXIS
CONCERNS THE USE OF EXPRESSIONS
WITHIN SOME UTTERANCE TO REFER TO
SOME PORTION OF THE DISCOURSE THAT
CONTAINS THAT UTTERANCE (INCLUDING
THE UTTERANCE ITSELF.
(LEVINSON, 1983: 85)
It seems natural that time-deictic words can be used to refer to portions of the discourse:
In the next Chapter
Demonstrative “This” and “That”
“This” can be used to refers to a forthcoming portion of the discourse.
i.g : I bet you haven’t heard this story
“That” to a preceding portion
i.g : That was the funniest story I’ve never heard
5. SOCIAL DEIXIS
Social Deixis concerns the encoding of social distinctions that are relative to participant-roles,
particularly aspects of the social relationship holding between speaker and addressee(s) or
speaker and some referent. (Levinson, 1983: 63)
There are two basic kinds of socially
RELATIONAL; The relations that typically
Speaker and referent (e.g. referent honorifics)
Speaker and addressee (e.g. addressee honorifics)
Speaker and bystander (e.g. bystander or audience honorifics)
Speaker and setting (e.g. formality levels)
ABSOLUTE socially deictic information:
- ‘khrab’ a polite participle that can only be used by male speakers.
- ‘kha’ a polite participle that can only be used by female speakers
Title Address: Your Honour, Mr. President