Every language has lexical items and grammatical forms which can be interpreted only when the sentences in which they occur are understood as being anchored in some social context. This context must be defined in such a way as to identify the participants in the communication act, their location in space, and the time during which the communication act is performed. Aspects of language which require this sort of contextualization are known as deictic forms.
These forms are the subject of this series of lectures given by Charles J. Fillmore. The lectures reprinted here were given in Santa Cruz in the summer of 1971. Fillmore begins this series of lectures with the thorough examination of one simple English sentence, “May we come in?” He then devotes two lectures to non-deictic conceptions of space and time. Spatial and temporal notions that have no connection to the observer's points of view are examined as a preface to the examination of deictic conceptions of these notions. Deictically anchored conceptions of space and time are then addressed with special attention to the motion verbs “come” and “go”. Finally, Fillmore takes up the topics of discourse and social deixis. Discourse deixis. Discourse deixis examines the choice of lexical and grammatical elements which indicate of otherwise refer to some portion or aspect of the ongoing discourse. Social deixis studies that aspect of sentences which reflect or establish or are determined by certain realities of the social situation in which the speech act occurs.
These ideas and thoughts are presented in their original and highly readable forms. These lectures will serve, as they have for the past twenty-five years, as a foundation for the study of deictic forms.
Charles Fillmore (1929–2014) was
Professor Emeritus of Linguistics at the University of California, Berkeley.
- Introduction to the Reprinting of the Deixis Lectures
- May We Come In?
- Deixis I
- Coming and Going
- Deixis II
- Selected Bibliography