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Discourse Deixis

Discourse deixis deals with the orientation in the text through the writer or the speaker, the relation of the text passages to the current utterance either as a head of time or past, forthcoming or simultaneous. It encodes reference to portions of the unfolding discourse in which the utterance is located (Levinson, 1983, p.62). It means that discourse deixis is deictic reference to a portion of a discourse relative to the speaker’s current location in the discourse, such as: above, below, last, previous, proceeding, next or following (usually used in texts) and this, that, there, next, last (usually used in utterances).

In spoken or written discourse, there is frequently occassion to refer to earlier or forthcoming segments of the discourse. Since discourse unfolds in time, it is natural to use temporal deictic terms to indicate the relation of the referred to to the temporal location of the present utterance in the discourse. But spatial terms are also often employed. Reference to parts of of a discourse which can only be interpreted by knowing where the current coding or receiving point is, are clearly deictic in character (Asher 1994, p.856).

Levinson (1983, p.85-86) added that discourse deixis should be distinguished from a related notion that of anaphora. Moreover, discourse deixis shares with anaphora and cataphora the capacity to function as a text cohesion device. As we noted, anaphora concerns with the use of a pronoun to refer to the same referent as some prior term. Anaphora can hold within sentences, across sentences, and across at speaking in a dialogue. Deictic or other referring expressions are often used to introduce a referent, and anaphoric pronouns are used to refer to the same entity thereafter. However, it is important to remember that deictic and anaphoric usages are not mutually exclusive. Therefore, in principle the distinction is clear: when a pronoun refers to a linguistic expression itself, it is discourse deictic. When a pronoun refers to the same entity as a prior linguistic expression refers to, it is anaphoric.

In other words, discourse deixis is an expression used to refer to certain discourse that contain the utterance or as a signal and its relations to surrounding text.

A. Person Deixis
E. Social Deixis
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  1. m still confused about the distinguish of Anaphora and discourse deixis


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