LITERATURE from other languages (Al Aubali, 2015; Navaretta, 2007

Topic: CultureEthnicity Studies
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Last updated: September 13, 2019

LITERATURE REVIEWDeixis is the general phenomenon of the occurrence ofdeictic words.

Deictic word itself, in the book titled “Semantics: ACoursebook” by Hurford, Heasley, and Smith (2007), is defined as a word whichmeaning is taken from the context of situation in which it occurred. There arefive types of deixis according to Levinson (1983) such as person, place, time,discourse, and social deixis. Levinson (1983) also proposes that there are twodifferent usages of deictic terms such as deictic and non-deictic. However, apparentlythe application of types of deixis being used in English differs from otherlanguages (Al Aubali, 2015; Navaretta, 2007 and Vayasi & Salehnejad, 2016).Therefore, this literature review aims to find out the way different types ofdeixis are used differently in English and other languages.

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Al Aubali (2015) conducted a contrastive study toexamine the different usage of deixis in English and Arabic. In this study,types of deixis being investigated are person, place, time, social anddiscourse deixis. Findings of the study show that there are differences andsimilarities of the use of types of deixis in English and Arabic. There are twofindings regarding person deixis. The first finding shows that while Englishonly has one form of second person deixis which is ‘you’, Arabic has five formsnamely ‘anta’, ‘anti’, ‘antuma’, ‘antum’, and ‘antuna’. The second finding isthat third person deixis, both in English and Arabic, is marked for gender,number, and case. Regarding place deixis, the demonstrative pronounspositioning in English differs from that in Arabic.

In English, thedemonstrative determiner precedes the head, while in Arabic, demonstrative canprecede or follow the head. Regarding time deixis, both English and Arabic usenouns, adverbs, particles and tenses to indicate time. Another finding showsthat in English, adverbs of time only play a supplementary role in determiningthe tense indicating time, where as in Arabic they play an essential role.Regarding social deixis, both English and Arabic rely on titles or kinshipterms to show social relationship between speakers and the addressees.

Regardingdiscourse deixis, findings indicate that in English, distal demonstrative’that’ is more commonly used to refer to a preceding part of discourse, whereasin Arabic, the proximal demonstrative such as ‘hatha’ is more favored.  Vaysi and Salehnejad (2016) also conducted a study tocompare the use of types of deixis in different languages. However, unlike thestudy conducted by Al Aubali (2015), this study investigation is restricted toonly two types of deixis which are spatial and temporal deixis. Usingdescriptive-analytic method, this research aims to compare the use of spatialand temporal deictic expressions in English and Persian. Results of the studyindicates that there are differences and similarities regarding the use ofspatial and temporal deixis in both languages. The first findings are onspatial deixis. Both English and Persian have a two-term system todifferentiate distance of something from the speaker namely distal andproximal. In order to refer to the location of things, both English and Persianuse demonstratives.

However, the demonstratives in English and Persian aredifferent. In English, there are two-dimensional spatial deictic expressions,proximal such as ‘this/here’ and distal such as ‘that/there’. On the otherhand, Persian has more deictic expressions to specify three dimensions.

Persianhas three proximal such as /?in/ (this), /in?a/ (here) and /hæmin?a/(exactlyhere), and three distal such as /?an/ (that), /an?a/ (there) and /hæman?a/ (exactly there). BothEnglish and Persian use verbs as spatial deixis. For instance, in English theverbs motions are ‘come’ and ‘go’, and the Persian counterparts for those are /?amædæn/ and /ræftæn/. The second findings are regarding temporal deicticexpressions. Both English and Persian have words or phrases which are naturallyused as temporal deixis. In English, the words or phrases indicating time are ‘now’,’then’, ‘yesterday’, ‘today’, ‘tomorrow’, ‘last year’, etc. and the counterpartsof those in Persian are /hala/, /sepæs/, /diru:z/,/færda/, /parsal/, /sal-e-?ajænde/.

Another study which compares the use of different typesof deixis is a study conducted by Navaretta (2007). Navaretta (2007) has conducteda contrastive study on deixis in Danish, English and Italian. Similar to thestudy by Vaysi and Salehnejad (2016), this study does not investigate the useof all types of deixis. This study focuses only on one type of deixis which is pronominalabstract anaphora or also known as discourse deixis.

In comparing the use of abstractanaphora in Danish, English and Italian, this research obtained its data from sevenDanish fairy tales (including their English and Italian translation versions)and from 34 Italian fairy tales. The pronominal types being investigated inthis study are personal, demonstrative, and proximal demonstrative. Findingsfrom the analyzed data show that there are differences and similarities in theway different types of pronoun are used as discourse deixis in Danish, Englishand Italian despite having similar contexts and with the same kind ofantecedent. In Danish and English texts, abstract pronominal reference is morefrequently used than in the monolingual Italian texts. However, in thetranslated Italian texts, abstract reference is equally frequently used as inthe original Danish texts. Another finding from this study shows that personalpronouns as abstract referents are more frequently used in Danish and Italianthan in English.  Aside from thefindings, this study also gives insight that a more comprehensive and detailedstudy on abstract referents in the three languages will be conducted to fillwhat this study lacks.

Based on the results of the three studies (Al Aubali,2015; Navaretta, 2007 and Vayasi & Salehnejad, 2016) conducted in comparingthe use of different types of deixis, we can conclude that different languages mayuse deictic expressions differently.   ReferencesAl Aubali, F. A.(2015). Deixis in Arabic and English: A Contrastive approach. InternationalJournal of Applied Linguistics and English Literature, 4(4),118-124Hurford, J. R.

, Heasley,B., & Smith, M. B. (2007). Semantics:a coursebook.

Cambridge University Press.Levinson, S. C. (1983). Pragmatics (Cambridgetextbooks in linguistics).

Navarretta, C. (2007). Acontrastive analysis of abstract anaphora in Danish, English and Italian.In Proceedings of DAARC (pp. 103-109).Vaysi, E.

, &Salehnejad, L. (2016). Spatial and Temporal Deixis in English andPersian. International Journal of Humanities and Cultural Studies(IJHCS)?, 3(1), 1405-1414.


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