him by associating him with facts already known about him? Yes / No
(6) As question (5), but with the utterance, ‘The man from Dundee stole my wallet’. Yes / No
(7) Can a universe of discourse be partly fictitious? Yes / No
(8) If perfect communication is to take place between speaker and hearer on any topic,
is it necessary that they share the same universe of discourse? Yes / No
Feedback: (1) Yes (2) No (3) ‘Neil Armstrong’, ‘the first man on the moon’ (4) the speaker of the utterance (5) No, not usually (6) Yes (7) Yes (8) Yes If you got less than 7 out of 8 correct, review the relevant unit. Otherwise, continue to the introduction.
Most words mean what they mean regardless of who uses them, and when and where they are used. Indeed this is exactly why words are so useful. Only if we assign a (fairly) constant interpretation to a word such as man, for example, can we have a coherent conversation about men. Nevertheless, all languages do contain small sets of words whose meanings vary systematically according to who uses them, and where and when they are used. These words are called deictic words: the general phenomenon of their occurrence is called deixis. The word deixis is from a Greek word meaning pointing.
A DEICTIC word is one which takes some element of its meaning from the context or situation (i.e. the speaker, the addressee, the time and the place) of the utterance in which it is used.
Example: The first person singular pronoun I is deictic. When Ben Heasley says ‘I’ve lost the
contract’, the word I here refers to Ben Heasley. When Penny Carter says ‘I’ll send you
Feedback: (1) Dodge City (2) Fresno, California (3) A referring expression modified by this refers to an entity (place, person, thing etc.) at or near the actual place of the utterance in which it is used. (4) November 2nd 2005 (5) May 3rd 2005 (6) Yesterday refers to the day before the day of the utterance in which it is used.
Comment: These exercises show that the words this and yesterday are deictic.