PRAGMATICS ANALYSIS OF DEIXIS IN THE SONG LYRICS IN TAYLOR SWIFT’S “RED” ALBUM

Julia Kolodii

Kamianets-Podilskyi Ivan Ohiienko National University

Scientific Supervisor: Matkovska M. V.

PRAGMATICS ANALYSIS OF DEIXIS IN THE SONG LYRICS IN TAYLOR SWIFT’S “RED” ALBUM

This paper is devoted to the pragmatic characteristics of deixis appearing in the utterance between the speakers. Attention is focused on deixis as an indicative function of units of linguistic and paralinguistic codes in communication, expressed by lexical and grammatical units. The author examines linguistic means that presuppose identification and localization of participants of communication, objects, events, processes, facts etcetera concerning spatial, temporal, social, and other contexts that are being created by the communicative act and participants of communication.

Key words: semantics, pragmatics, deixis, communicative behavior, category.

Nowadays, listening music is not only categorized as a hobby but also becomes a favorite thing for many people especially teenagers. Sometimes, people listen to music while doing their activities such as working, studying, eating even during sleeping. Otherwise, the students like listening to music to refresh their brain after finishing learning process and feeling boring.

In many cultures, music is an important part of people’s way of life, as it plays a key role in religious rituals, rite of passage ceremonies (e.g., graduation and marriage), social activities (e.g., dancing) and cultural activities ranging from amateur karaoke singing.

A number of lyrics in song also give an inspiration for life. Therefore, when people listen to song lyric sometimes they do not only try to apprehend the meaning of lyric itself, but also the meaning of the reader or speaker means. The study of what speakers mean or speaker meaning is called pragmatics. Some scopes of pragmatics include the study of deixis, presupposition, reference, entailment and speech acts.In this research, I use pragmatics approach that analyses the deixis in song lyrics.

There are many definitions of pragmatics, which comes from some linguistics. Every linguist has his own concept and principal about pragmatics itself. For instance, based on Cruse pragmatics is the study about aspects of meaning which are dependent on context [2, p. 3]. Pragmatics is a part of linguistics, which is about communicating meaning in context, it concerns with meaning [4]. Besides, Griffith argued that pragmatics is concerned with the use of tools in meaningful communication [3]. Addition, pragmatics studies the use of language in context, and the context dependence of several linguistic interpretation. It has consequently more to do with the analysis of what people mean by their utterances than what the words or phrases in those utterances might mean by themselves.

Yule claimed pragmatics is concerned with the study of meaning as communicated by the speaker (or writer) and interpreted by listener (or reader) [7, p. 4] Communication clearly depends on not only recognizing the meaning of words in an utterance or sentence, but also recognizing what speakers mean by their utterances.

In what followed above, we can conclude that pragmatics is the study of meaning that depends on the context. It can convey about people’s intended meaning, their purposes or goal, and any kinds of actions. Pragmatics is a sub discipline of linguistics, philosophical and sociological traditions, which studies the relationship between natural language expressions and their uses in specific situations. Levinson says that “pragmatics is the study of deixis (at least in part), implicative, presupposition, speech acts, and aspect of discourse structure [5, p. 27]”.

Traditionally, deixis is regarded as an indicative function of units of linguistic and paralinguistic codes in communication, expressed by lexical, grammatical, prosodic and paralingual (gesture, mimics, body movements) means, and presupposes identification and localization of participants of communication, objects, events, processes, facts etcetera, concerning spatial, temporal, social, and other contexts that are being created by the communicative act and participants of communication. In this aspect the category of deixis is considered as the pragmatic one as it is connected with participants of communication, their acceptance of space, time, etc.

The category of deixis is regarded by such scholars as Yule, Levinson, Cruse etc. Based on Yule, deixis has three types, which are person deixis, spatial deixis, and temporal deixis [7, p. 9]. Deictic words or deictic expression can be used to indicate people which called as person deixis (I, you), location which is called spatial deixis (here, there), or time that called temporal deixis (now, then). Despite, Levinson proposed that person deixis, place deixis and time deixis belongs to the traditional categories [5, p. 62]. He explained it to a wide array of deixis types, which are discourse and social deixis [5, p. 68]. Cruse also divided deixis into five main types, which are person deixis, spatial deixis, temporal deixis, discourse deixis, and social deixis [1, p. 303].

I would like to analyze Taylor Swift’s song lyrics in “Red” album with applying the deixis analysis to pragmatics studying word meanings. I would like to describe song lyrics “State of Grace”.

State of Grace” is a song by American singer-songwriterTaylor Swiftfrom her fourthstudio albumRed (2012) [8]. During her preview of the song onABC‘sGood Morning America, Swift described the song as such: “I wrote this song about when you first fall in love with someone — the possibilities, kind of thinking about the different ways that it could go. It’s a really big sound. To me, this sounds like the feeling of falling in love in an epic way” [6].

The lyrics of the song contains all three kinds of deixis: person, temporal and spatial.

For example, “I’m walking fast through the traffic lights”here “I” is person deixis. “I” as participant and first person who walk fast through the traffic lights.“And all we know is touch and go”here is also an example of person deixis “We”.“We” indicates the first person plural refers two people who only know about touch and go[9].

“We are alone with our changing minds, we fall in love until it hurts or bleeds or fades in time”in this sentence we have “We” like person deixis and “Time” like temporal deixis. “We” as first person plural show both of two people with their minds and who fall in love until it hurts or bleeds or fades in time [9].

“And I never saw you coming”here we have two person deixis “I” and “You”. “I” refer to first person who never saw “you”as second person or hearer come [9].

“And I’ll never be the same” here is “I” like person deixis. “I” as first person would never be the same [9].

“You come around and the armor falls, pierce the room like a cannon ball” there are two deixis “You” (Person) and “Room” (Spatial). “You” as second person who come around and make the armor falls.“Room”show place where “you’”pierce like a cannonball[9].

“Now all we know is don’t let go”in this sentences are temporal deixis “Now” and person deixis “we”.“Now” a temporal as expression to show the time “we” as first person plural that give impression both of two people to do not give up[9].

“I loved in shades of wrong” here is person deixis “I”. “I” as first person deixis who refers to the songwriter who love all shades of wrong[9].

“We learn to live with the pain” here is “We” like person deixis. “We” refers two people who learn to live with the pain[9].

“But this love is brave and wild” here is spatial deixis “this”. “This” as demonstrative expression refers to object love that brave and wild[9].

“This is a state of grace” here is “this” like spatial deixis. “This” as demonstrative expression refers to a state of grace[9].

“Unless you play it good and right” here is person deixis “you”. “You” is second person refers to people who play the love with good and right[9].

“You’re my Achilles heel” here is two person deixis “You” and “my”. “You” as second person or hearer who deemed “my” as possessive adjective from I as first person Achilles heel [9].

“This is the golden age of something good and right and real” here is spatial deixis “This”.“This” is a temporal deixis as demonstrative adjective, which refers to condition of the songwriter[9].

After analyzing the data, we can say that there are three types of deixis found in the song lyrics of Taylor Swift “State of Grace”. They are person deixis, spatial deixis, and temporal deixis. Person deixis are most used by the songwriter is singular first person “I”and “my”, then plural first person deixis“we”, and second person deixis“you”. Spatial deixis is indicating the location between the speaker and the listener.From the song lyrics above, it can be seen that the author use spatial deixis“this”are include as demonstrative adjective, and “room” are include motion verb. Last, kinds of deixis are used by the song writer is temporal deixis, there are “time” and “now”. The use of these ones in lyrics above are used to point to a time when the moment happens between the songwriter and the hearer.

References

  1. Cruse, D. Alan. Meaning in Language: An Introduction to Semantics and Pragmatics. New York: Oxford University Press. 2000.
  2. Cruse, D. Alan. A Glossary of Semantic and Pragmatic. Edinburgh University Press. 2006.
  3. Griffith, Patrick. An Introduction to English Semantics and Pragmatics. Edinburgh University Press. 2006.
  4. Kreidler, W. Charles. Introducing English Semantics. Psychology Press. 1998.
  5. Levinson, C. Stephen. New York: Oxford University Press. 1983.
  6. Swift, Taylor. New Song “State of Grace” Preview OffNew Album “Red”. October 15, 2012. Retrieved October 19, 2012.

Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nPmp9vANrGw

  1. Yule, George. Oxford University Press. 1996.
  2. Available at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taylor_Swift
  3. Available at: https://genius.com/Taylor-swift-state-of-grace-lyrics