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6-Discourse deixis


Pragmatics
Discourse Deixis

I. Definition

Discourse deixis has to do with the use of expressions in some utterances in reference to a certain portion of the ongoing discourse.

II.

Discourse deictic expressions: 1. “this” and “that” “this” usually functions to refer to an immediate following portion of discourse; “that” is used to refer to a preceding part of discourse. e.g. “This is what he did to me. He ripped my shirt and hit me on the nose.” “They had a car accident. That was the worst we could expect.”

2. “next” and “last” In the next paragraph I will show you what to do. In the last chapter we talked about meaning and the structure of language.

3. “it” —pronoun of laziness “It” is in a sloppy relation to the antecedent; there is no referential identity. It is sometimes called discourse deictics as it refers to the chunk of discourse, the noun phrase that would otherwise have to be repeated with the necessary qualification.

e.g. (1) I’ve never cooked a rat, but, Paul has, and it tasted terrible. (2) I keep my car in the garage but my next door neighbor keeps it in his drive. (3) The man who gave his paycheck to his wife was wiser than the man who gave it to his mistress.

4. “it” refers to the following part of the sentence It surprises me that they don’t write. It was his best suit that John wore to dame last night.

5. “it” refers to a linguistic expression itself That’s a hippopotamus How do you spell it?

6. logical connector Therefore, in conclusion, on the contrary, however, besides…


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