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Assignment Work

Submitted to: Mr. Irfan Abbas

Submitted by: M. Javed, Mohsin Jabbar,
Saifullah, Yasir Munir, Anila
Class: M.A English (3rd Semester)
Topic: Time Deixis/Temporal Deixis

Date: 20-04-2019



Any linguistic form that we use to accomplish the task of pointing out is called deixis.
The deictic words such as I, we, you, he, she, this, that, it, now, then, here, there, tomorrow,
yesterday, etc., are different linguistic forms and are called deictic expressions. The meaning
of deictic expressions can be understood only in terms of speakers intended meanings.
For Example:
 Speaker A: Have you brought the book?
 Speaker B: Yes
The word the is obviously a deictic expression whose exact meaning can only be
understood in terms of speaker A’s intended meaning.
When we indicate something we use expressions. These expressions are called indexicals,
e.g, now, then, I, come, go etc. These expressions require an addressee to be able to pick out a
person, place, or time relevant in understanding how the words refer. This is called deitic
Some other examples of deictic expressions

 It is now 12:15.

 She is the mother of Napoleon.

 This is Iqbal.

 That will end then.

 Letizea was the mother of Napoleon.

In the above examples, the underlined words i.e It, she, the, this, that, the , are deictic
expressions or indexicals.
2. Origin of the term deixis
The deixis is a borrowed term derived from a Greek word, meaning pointing to or
picking up.
The property of language in which we study indexical, is called indexicality and the
dexical terms which encode context are called deictics.
In linguistics, deixis referes to words and phrases that cannot be fully understood
without additional contextual information (words are deictic if their semantic meaning is
varied depending on time and/or place). In reality, words or phrases that require contextual
information to convey any meaning are deictic e.g English pronouns are deictic.
3. Deictic Types
Deictic words or deictics are a closed class, that is, there is a limited set of these words
which can be used deictically. On the basis of semantic criteria deixis can be classified into
three major categories given below:
1. Person deixis: which is based on person reference e.g I
2. Place deixis: which is based on place reference e.g here, there
3. Time deixis: which is based on time reference e.g now, then
Fillmore calls these three categories of deixis as “major grammaticalized types”
4. Time deixis or temporal deixis
 Any expression used to point to a time is called temporal or time deixis.
 In other words, time deixis concerns itself with the various times involved in and
referred to in an utterance, such as, tonight, last week, yesterday, before, after etc.
 Actually , time deixis includes time adverbs like now, then, soon and so forth, and
also different tenses.
For explaining time deixis, a good example of is the word tomorrow, which denotes the
consecutive next day after every day. The tomorrow of a day last year was a different day
from the tomorrow of a day next week.
In order to understand many English conditional constructions (including those of the
form ‘Had I known sooner…’), we have to recognize that, in temporal deixis, the remote or
distal form can be used to communicate not only distance from current time, but also distance
from current reality or facts.

Deixis is the single most obvious way in which the relationship between language and
context is reflected in the structures of languages themselves. It concerns on the interpretation
of utterances depends on the analysis of that context of utterance. Some aspects of deixis
make a difference to truth conditions; this shift will coincide with the decision to restrict
semantics to the truth-conditional aspects of meaning.

The book: Pragmatics (George Yule)