Semantic: Personal Deixis Essay

Submitted By Malikaandrew1
Words: 1169
Pages: 5

How do the concepts of ‘anaphora’ and ‘deixis’ help to determine more precisely the functions of pronouns? Discuss, giving examples to support your argument.

According to Strawson,“a use of a single term invokes a mental file in the mind of the interpreter and is successful only if the interpreter actually connects the singular term with the right mental file”. Although most words will mean the same regardless of the speaker and the time of the utterance, some words such as pronouns, can have a different meaning depending on the context. It is therefore necessary for the speaker(s) and the hearer(s) to manage to understand each other. Deixis and Anaphora are two concepts that help to clarify the different uses and functions of pronouns. It also ensures that all the participants of a speech act are constantly on the same wavelength regarding the topic(s) of their utterances. Deixis is reference to the orientation or position of entities by means of an expression whose interpretation is relative to the extralinguistic context of the utterance; such as who is speaking (personal deixis), the place (special deixis) or the time of the speaking (temporal deixis). Anaphora is coreference of one expression with its antecedent. The antecedent provides the information necessary for the expression’s interpretation. Although pronouns used in deictic and anaphora will be treated separately, it is important to keep in mind that some can be used anaphorically and deictically at the same time.
Personal Deixis in conversation include the speaker (I,we) ,the address (you) and sometimes a third party( he ,she they). They allow us to identify ourselves or someone else through our utterances. The most common way to do it is by using the pronouns I and the pronoun You. However these pronouns differ with respect to the person who makes the utterance. They are necessary in conversations where each person constantly change from being I to being You or seen from a different perspective. For example ,I am having a conversation with my friend Manuel : G :I think you should exercise more often Manuel M:Well… I think you should mind your business. In the first utterance, I used to pronoun I to refer to myself and the pronoun You to identify my friend, however the I in the second utterance no longer identified me but my friend Manuel who was speaking. Personal deixis also show how gender,number and social status are identified and differentiated through the uses of pronouns. First, gender is usually marked in third person pronouns, in French il for masculine and elle for feminine or English with he for masculine and she for feminine. In some other languages like Ngala both the first and second person have a masculine and a feminine form.When the pronoun he in English is used the hearer automatically knows that he should be looking for a male. In a room full of women, having a pronoun to refer to the only man rather than having to describe his features makes it easier to identify the specific person. Then number is pointed out by different pronouns. Ellas and ellos in Spanish. Again, personal deixis make it easier to understand who is concerned. For instance when Ricardo say: Ellas son pequeñas.¿puedes buscar conmigo ? ( they are small, could you look for them with me?) The other person will automatically know that he/she