Spatial deixis and demonstrative pronouns in Hungarian

The paper first provides a general interpretation of deixis from a functional pragmatic perspective. Deixis is described as a linguistic operation drawing on participants’ contextual knowledge that comes from their mental processing of the spatial, temporal, and interpersonal relations of the speech situation. Relying on this knowledge, it makes the physical and social world of the discourse participants part of the world of the discourse. Basic to the phenomenon is the dual (discursive as well as embodied) grounding of linguistic congition. A key implication of embodied grounding is the egocentric functioning of the deictic centre, which rests by default with the speaker serving as the referential centre for spatial, temporal and interpersonal orientation.

The second part of the paper is devoted to the study of spatial deixis and its manifestation in the Hungarian pronominal system. We suggest that, as realized in Hungarian, spatial deixis encompasses categories far beyond traditional cases of place deixis, since pronouns iconically partition the world into ’near’ and ’far’ regardless of whether they refer to things, modes, qualities or quantities, etc. However, peripheral cases do differ from place deixis (the prototype for spatial deixis) by giving no firm linguistic basis for identifying context-dependent reference points.

Finally, the third part of the paper applies the theoretical points made above to a detailed study of a pair of Hungarian demonstrative pronouns referring to things, namely ez ’this’ and az ’that’.

Keywords: deixis, deictic centre, spatial deixis, demonstrative pronouns, proximity vs. distance

References

Brisard, F. (2002). Introduction: The epistemic basis of deixis and reference. In F. Brisard, (ed.), Grounding: The Epistemic Footing of Deixis and Reference. Berlin: Mouton. pp. xi–xxxiv.

Bühler, K. (1934). Spachtheorie: Die Darstellungsfunction der Sprache. Fischer: Jena.

Fillmore, C. (1975). Santa Cruz Lectures on Deixis. Indiana University Linguistics Club.

Laczkó, K. (2008). A mutató névmási deixisről. [Deixis and demonstrative pronouns.] Általános Nyelvészeti Tanulmányok XXII. Budapest: Akadémiai Kiadó. pp. 309–347.

Laczkó K. (2010). Demonstrative pronouns in spatial deixis, discourse deixis, and anaphora. Acta Linguistica 57 (1): 99–118.

Langacker, R.W. (1987). Foundations of Cognitive Grammar. Volume I. Stanford: Stanford University Press.

Langacker, R.W. (1993). Reference point construction. Cognitive Linguistics 4: 1–38.

Langacker, R.W. (2001). Discourse in Cognitve Grammar. Cognitive Linguistics 12 (2): 143–188.

Langacker, R.W. (2002). Deixis and subjectivity. In F. Brisard (ed.), Grounding: The Epistemic Footing of Deixis and Reference. Berlin: Mouton. pp. 1–28.

Levinson, S.C. (1992 [1983]). Pragmatics. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Levinson, S.C. (2004). Deixis. In L.R. Horn and G. Ward (eds.), The Handbook of Pragmatics. Oxford: Blackwell. pp. 97–121.

Lyons, J. (1977). Semantics. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Marmaridou, S.S. (2000). Pragmatic Meaning and Cognition. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

Sanders, J. and W. Spooren (1997). Perspective, subjectivity, and modality from a cognitive point of view. In W. Liebert, G. Redeker and L. Waugh (eds.), Discourse and Perspective in Cognitive Linguistics. Amsterdam: John Benjamins. pp. 85–112.

Sinha, C. (1999). Grounding, mapping and acts of meaning. In T. Janssen and G. Redeker (eds.), Cognitive Linguistics: Foundations, Scope and Methodology. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter. pp. 223–255.

Shina, C. (2005). Biology, culture and the emergence and elaboration of symbolization. In A.P. Saleemi, O.S. Bohn and A. Gjedde (eds.), Search of a language for the mind-brain: Can the multiple perspective unified? Aarhus: Aarhus University Press. pp. 311–335.

Tátrai, Sz. (2004). A kontextus fogalmáról. [Survey of the context.] Magyar Nyelvőr 128:479–494.

Tátrai, Sz. (2005). A nézőpont szerepe a narratív megértésben. [Percpective in narrative understanding.] Általános Nyelvészeti Tanulmányok XXI. Budapest: Akadémiai Kiadó. pp. 207–229.

Tátrai, Sz. (2010). Áttekintés a deixisről. [Survey of the deixis.] Magyar Nyelvőr 134: 118–135.

Tátrai, Sz. (2011). Bevezetés a pragmatikába. Funkcionális kognitív megközelítés. [Introduction to Pragmatics. A functional cognitive approach.] Budapest: Tinta Könyvkiadó.

Tolcsvai Nagy, G. (2001). A Magyar nyelv szövegtana. [Textlinguistics of Hungarian Language.] Budapest: Nemzeti Tankönyvkiadó.

Tomasello, M. (1999). The Cultural Origins of Human Cognition. Harvard: Harvard University Press.

Vater, H. (1991). Einführung in die Raum-Linguistik. Gabel Verlag, Hürth-Efferen (Klage 24.).

Verschueren, J. (1999). Understanding Pragmatics. London: Arnold.

Yule, G. (1996). Pragmatics. Oxford:Oxford University Press.

Download

Download full text of the article as PDF