Speak about the notion of deixis and its importance for communication. Speak about person deixis, spatial deixis and temporal deixis.

Deixis is reference by means of an expression whose interpretation is relative to the (usually) extralinguistic context of the utterance, such as:

  • who is speaking
  • the time or place of speaking
  • the gestures of the speaker, or
  • the current location in the discourse.

Here are examples of deictic expressions: I, u, now, there, that, the following, tenses.

Deixismeans ‘identification by pointing’. Much of the textual meaning can be understood by looking at linguistic markers that have a pointing function in a given context. For example, consider the following note pinned on a professor’s door: “Sorry, I missed you. I’m in my other office. Back in an hour.” Without knowing who the addressee is, what time the note was written, or the location of the other office, it is really hard to make a precise information of the message. Those terms that we cannot interpret without an immediate context are called deixis.

Deictic terms are used to refer to ourselves, to others, and to objects in our environment. They are also used to locate actions in a time frame relative to the present. Deictic terms can show social relationship – the social location of individuals in relation to others. They may be used to locate parts of a text in relation to other parts. Deictic expressions are typically pronouns, certain time and place adverbs (here, now, etc.), some verbs of motion (come/go), and even tenses. In fact all languages have expressions that link a sentence to a time and space context and that help to determine reference.

We can identify fivemajor types of deictic markers – person, place, time, textual and social.

Person deixis refers to grammatical markers of communicant roles in a speech event. Place deixis refers to how languages show the relationship between space and the location of the participants in the text: this, that, here, there, in front of.

Person deixis is a set of tools in language (nouns, pronouns) that help us see the relation between people. In English, the distinctions are generally indicated by pronouns.


- categorical items (pronouns)

- honorifics (T/V distinction - Russian)

- identification of a person (He was certainly a rich man!)

- quality (your friend is a bit – a gesture)

Functions: inclusive (do we want some soup for lunch?), exclusive (somebody didn’t clean after oneself!) Let’s go (we all) – inclusive; let us go - exclusive

Temporal deixis refers to the time relative to the time of speaking: now, then, today, yesterday, tomorrow. Textual deixis has to do with keeping track of reference in the unfolding text: in the following chapter, but, first, I’d like to discuss, etc. Most of the text connectors discussed above belong to this group.

Deixis is particularly important in dialogue because it serves to hold the participants to a specific point in time and space. Without such anchorage every dialogue would appear to be a loose collection of disconnected utterances - which it clearly is not. The dialogue gains its significance within a given context partly from the deictic references which connect it to that context.

Speak about the strategies of communication and cooperative principle. Speak about the maxims of communication and conversational implicatures. Define the notion of hedges and their types.

Strategy– automatic activity of participants facilitating the aim of communication.

It defines the choice of style, manner, channel, etc.

T. van Dijk classified them as:

- Depending on the speech context – contextual, semantic, syntactic, textual;

- Depending on the language use – communicative, cognitive;

- Depending on the aim – cooperative, conflicting and manipulative.

Gricean maxims of communication. H. Paul Grice set forth four maxims of communication. They fall into the area of pragmatics and there are four of them – quantity, quality, relevance and manner.

Maxims (unstated assumptions).

- quantity (make your contribution as informative as is required for the current purposes of the exchange);do not give excessive information (which is not required);(say/write neither more nor less than the discourse requires. Don’t offer too much information. Don’t offer too little information).Examples: to cut it short, I won’t bore you with details, as you probably know…

- quality(your contribution must be true); do not say what you believe to be false. do not say that for which you lack adequate evidence. (don’t lie; don’t make unsupported claims. Only offer information you believe is true. Support each claim you make with: a warrant or data/grounds). Ex.: as far as I know, I may be mistaken, I’m not sure but, I guess…

- relevance (relation)make your contribution relevant. (be relevant – stick to the point. Don’t offer information that is off topic. Don’t offer information that is off purpose). Ex.: Oh, …by the way…, well…., anyway…

- manner (be perspicuous, and specifically (be brief and orderly; avoid ambiguity and obscurity. Be a cooperative communicator. Create sentences with a clear meaning that is easily apprehended). Ex.: I’m not sure if it’s clear at all, I don’t know if it makes sense, this may sound confused.

Conversational implicature is a nonconventional implicature based on an addressee’s assumption. Conversational implicatures are pragmatic inferences: unlike entailments and presuppositions, they are not tied to the particular words and phrases in an utterance but arise instead from contextual factors and the understanding that conventions are observed in conversation. The theory of conversational implicatures is attributed to Paul Herbert Grice, who observed that in conversations what is meant often goes beyond what is said and that this additional meaning is inferred and predictable.

The Cooperative Principle of communication (expected behavior of participants aimed at reaching the aims and successfully delivered messages): Make your contribution such as is required, at the stage at which it occurs, by the accepted purpose or direction of the talk exchange in which you are engaged. Ex.: John has two PhD’s. +> I believe John has two PhD’s, and have adequate evidence that he has. Does your farm contain 400 acres? +> I don’t know that your farm does contain 400 acres, and I want to know if it does.

This cooperative principle is an umbrella term for nine components that guide how we communicate. These nine components are grouped together into four categories, called the Maxims of Conversation: the maxim of quality (truthfulness), the maxim of quantity (informativeness), the maxim of relation (relevance), and the maxim of manner (perspicuity).

Hedges(bushes on the border) - marks that the speakers may be in danger of not adhering totally to the maxims; Hedges are used to weaken the truth value of an utterance- Quality:As far as I know; I may be mistaken… I’m not sure but… I guess..- Quantity:To cut it short… I won’t bore you with details… As you probably know…- Manner:I’m not sure if it’s clear at all... I don’t know if it makes sense.. This may sound confused…- Relation:Oh, by the way… Well, anyway… Coming back to the subject..

A hedge is a device used to lessen the impact of a statement. The notion "hedge" was introduced by George Lakoff in "Hedges: a Study in Meaning Criteria and the Logic of Fuzzy Concepts", Lakoff gives a list of more than 60 'hedges and related phenomena', including: sort of, kind of, rather, basically, very, often, almost, as it were, in one sense, a regular, so to say, in name only, really, pseudo-, he calls himself a, ... and many others.

One of the most curious features of hedging is that it can give equal weight to opposing options:

Both certainty and uncertainty: ("I'm sure he is the man who attacked me. " as well as "I'm not sure he is the man who attacked me.")

Attribution- including both personalization: ("I believe that he is guilty.") and depersonalization: ("The evidence suggest that he is guilty.") The neutral unhedged statement is: ("He is guilty.").

Explain the nature of the relations between language, speech and communication.

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