Semantic values may depend on the nonverbal context. We explore how, and develop an understanding of how to model such dependencies. Expressions like we, yesterday, this icicle, that acacia over there refer to entities that are wholly or largely determined by the situation where the utterance is made and are thus aptly called deictic (from Greek deiktos: "pointoutable"). If we shift this situation, as we do when we report the utterance, we have to shift the expressions too to retain their reference.
We examine ways of identifying deictic expressions and acquaint ourselves with the standard way to treat them, in a two-dimensional semantics where context of utterance and context of evaluation are the same type of thing but play two different parts.
Charles Fillmore’s 1971 Santa Cruz Lectures on Deixis, in particular, Lectures 4–6, are a goldmine.
- « Week 1: Show me something deictic
- « Week 2: Definitions and deictic diagnostics
- « Week 3: Constant characters, variable contents
- « Week 4: Demonstrating "this"
- « Week 5: Nonautomatic deixis
- « Week 6: Perspective
- « Week 7: Free indirect discourse
- « Week 8: Descriptive indexicals
- « Week 9: Actualization
- « Assignments