LINGUIST List 14.2209

Wed Aug 20 2003

Review: Semantics/Pragmatics: Lenz, ed. (2003)

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  1. Zouhair Maalej, Deictic Conceptualisation of Space, Time and Person

Message 1: Deictic Conceptualisation of Space, Time and Person

Date: Tue, 19 Aug 2003 23:36:28 +0000
From: Zouhair Maalej <zmaalejgnet.tn>
Subject: Deictic Conceptualisation of Space, Time and Person

Lenz, Friedrich, ed. (2003) Deictic Conceptualisation of Space, Time
and Person, John Benjamins Publishing Company, Pragmatics & Beyond New
Series 112.

Announced at http://linguistlist.org/issues/14/14-1424.html


Zouhair Maalej, Department of English, University of Manouba-Tunis,
Tunisia

PURPOSE AND CONTENTS

The book under review is an edited collection of eleven papers
distributed over the conceptualization of deixis as represented by
space, time, and pronouns.

PART I: Space

Sergio Meira: ''Addressee effects'' in demonstrative systems: The
cases of Tiriyo and Brazilian Portuguese (pp. 3-11): Working on two
unrelated languages, Meira argues against the distinction made between
distance and person-oriented systems of demonstratives, invoking the
fact that even distance-oriented systems are essentially
person-oriented.

Konstanze Jungbluth: ''Deictics in the conversational dyad: Findings
in Spanish and some cross-linguistic outlines (pp. 13-40): Rejecting
the distance and person-oriented systems for Spanish, Jungbluth offers
a dyad-oriented system for demonstratives as an alternative, involving
speaker and hearer.

Claudio Di Meola: ''Non-deictic uses of the deictic motion verbs
kommen and gehen in German'' (pp. 41-67): Di Meola describes
non-deictic unrestricted motional uses of kommen and restricted uses
of gehen in German. In its non-deictic use, kommen, for instance, has
to do with the (i) overcoming of an obstacle, (ii) accidental
movement, and (iii) passive movement, with the prepositional phrase of
place or time becoming mandatory. Di Meola mentions the inherent link
between the deictic and non-deictic uses of kommen and gehen as
mediated through metonymic extention.

Ellen Fricke: ''Origo, pointing and conceptualization-What gestures
reveal about the nature of the origo in face-to-face interaction''
(pp. 69-93): Fricke investigates the relevance of speech-associated
gestures to origo, which is differentiated into personal, local, and
temporal. The personal is further differentiated hierarchically into
primary (with the addresser) and secondary (with the addressee).

PART II: Time

Christiane von Stutterheim, Mary Carroll, and Wolfgang Klein: ''Two
ways of construing complex temporal structures'' (pp. 97-133): von
Stutterheim et al investigate the way speakers of different languages
(here English and German) convey temporal information in the construal
of events. English and German were found to adopt different strategies
of retelling events that are basically amenable to the formal
linguistic features of the language in question.

Thomas A. Fritz: '''Look here, what I am saying!': Speaker deixis and
implicature as the basis of modality and future tense'' (pp. 135-151):
Fritz explains modality and futurity by scalar implicature, which is
derived from ''saying'' or deictically the amount of factuality or
epistemic commitment to which speakers want to commit themselves.

Tanja Mortelmans: ''The 'subjective' effects of negation and past
subjunctive on deontic modals: The case of German d�rfen and sollen''
(pp. 153-182): Mortelmans argues for a speaker-oriented conception of
deontic modality, using negation and the past subjunctive as evidence.
Mortelmans defends the view that d�rfen (may) is pragmatically
reactive and sollen (should?) is non- reactive.

PART III: Person and Text

Johannes Helmbrecht: ''Politeness distinctions in second person
pronouns'' (pp. 185-202): In a study of a hundred world languages,
Helmbrecht isolates four classes of honorific types: (i) languages
showing no politeness distinctions in their pronoun system, (ii)
languages showing a binary politeness distinction, (iii) languages
showing two or more politeness distinctions, and (iv) languages
avoiding the use of second person polite address. These types show
unequal geographic distribution, and are explained functionally and
cross- linguistically as being affected by contact-induced borrowing.

Katharina Kupfer: ''Deictic use of demonstrative pronouns in the
Rigveda'' (pp. 203-321): Through elaborate syntactic argumentation,
Kupfer presents a view of demonstratives as opaque deictic expressions
whose deictic center has to be created by addresser and addressee in
Rigveda, a collection of ancient Indian texts.

Manfred Consten: ''Towards a unified model of domain-bound reference''
(pp. 223-248): Consten argues for a model of domain-bound reference
where deixis and anaphora interact and can be direct or indirect,
hoping that the two terms, deixis and anaphora, will not be part of
the vocabulary of cognitive linguistics.

Heiko Hausendorf: ''Deixis and speech situation revisited'' (pp. 249-
269): Hausendorf offers a view of speech situation as involving
participants in a mutually shared sensory perception in a socially and
interactionally constructed discourse. Using Jakobson's framework,
Hausendorf phrases his view as follows: deixis ''operates at the
interface between code and message where sensory perception is
required as a channel of communication in its own right'' (p. 264).

CRITICAL EVALUATION

With very few exceptions, the papers making up this book are
insightful by shedding fresh cognitive light on the pragmatics of
deixis. However, some critical comments are in good order. Mortelmans
mentions in her paper that the concept of ''projected reality''
(p. 154) originates in Langacker (1991) and Achard (1998). If we
abstract from the use of ''world'' instead of ''reality'', we find
that we owe the distinction between ''real world'' and ''projected
world'' to Jackendoff (1985), who acknowledges that the distinction is
at least as old as Kant, although for Mortelmans the ''projected
world'' is part of irreality whereas for Jackendoff (1985: 28) it is
the ''experienced world'' or ''phenomenal world.''

Mortelmans also talks about the possibility of including negation as a
''modal deictic marker.'' Invoking Lehmann (1991) in a footnote as
arguing for the inclusion of negation as part of the modal system,
Mortelmans seems to consider Lehmann as being at the origin of this
idea. The author, however, might want to know that, in Halliday's
functional/systemic grammar (1985-1994), negation (as part of
Polarity) is called ''a Modal Adjunct'' (1994: 90) within the Mood
System (in the Hallidayian perspective, the clause as an exchange is
divided into MOOD and RESIDUE). If negation is definitely modal in
essence, it is not made clear by the author how it could have a
deictic dimension.

The inclusion of Mortelmans's paper by the editor under the
conceptualization of time is not where a paper on modality and
negation should belong. In fact, Mortelmans hardly ever even alludes
to time.

To end this review, some tentative conclusions can be made about some
of the findings arrived at in this volume:

(i) Many of the papers in the collection use B�hler's theory of
deixis and the origo, which either has the effect of rehabilitating
his work, or pointing out sources that passed over his theory, which
scientifically counts as important acknowledgment.

(ii) If, as Jungbluth found out, the Spanish demonstrative system can
refer to parts of the body with proximal, medial, and distal pronouns,
and is neither distance- nor person-oriented, the notion of deictic
center should be revised as being not only egocentric but also
hearercentric. A confirmation of this polycentric dimension of deixis
is what Fricke discusses as a hierarchy of primary and secondary
origos, and even more types of origos or centers.

(iii) As von Stutterheim et al demonstrate, formal language-specific
constraints can be invoked to explain differences in the construal of
events cross-linguistically, whereby grammaticization seems to play a
major role.

REFERENCES

Achard, Michel (1998). Representation of Cognitive Structures: Syntax
and Semantics of French Sentential Complements. Berlin/New York:
Mouton de Gruyter.

Jackendoff, Ray (1985). Semantics and Cognition. Cambridge/London: The
MIT Press.

Langacker, Ronald W. (1991). Foundations of Cognitive Grammar
(Vol.2). Descriptive Application. Stanford: Stanford University
Press.

Lehmann, Christian (1991). ''Startegien der Situationsperpektion.''
Sprachwissenschaft 16, 1-26.

ABOUT THE REVIEWER

The reviewer is an assistant professor of linguistics. His interests
include cognitive linguistics, metaphor, cognitive pragmatics,
psycholinguistics, critical discourse analysis, etc.
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