Anastasia Martyniuk

Kamianets-Podilskyi Ivan Ohiienko National University

Scientific Supervisor: Matkovska M. V.



This paper is devoted to the pragmatic characteristicsofsocial deixisappearing in the utterance between interlocutors. Attention is focused on relational and absolute categories, which constitute the background of the basic values of British guidelines. The author examines linguistic means that are used for realization of mentioned categories in practice, exercised by William Shakespeare in the system of his poetic language.

Key words: semantics, pragmatics, linguistic culturology, communicative behavior, category.

The term deixisis borrowed from the Greek word “deiktikos” which means pointing or indicating via language.

Levinson mentionsthat deixis is an important field studied in pragmatics, semantics and linguistics. Deixis refers to the phenomenon wherein understanding the meaning of certain words and phrases in an utterance requires contextual information. Words or phrases that require contextual information to convey meaning are deictic [3, p. 32].

As opposed to Levinson, Yule describes deixis as a way of “pointing through language. He also admits that deictic expressions have their most basic uses in face-to-face spoken utterances [5, p. 9]. In addition, Lyonshas defined deixis as follows: by deixis is meant the location and identification of persons, objects, events, processes and activities talked about, or referred to, in relation to the spatio-temporal context created and sustained by the act of utterance and the participation in it, typically, of a single speaker and a least one addressee [4, p. 377].

Levinson subdivides it into five kinds on the basis of its features and appropriateness to the context, namely, personal, location, time, discourse and social deixis. The present paper discusses mainly the last type. Social deixisis originated from ancient Greek and means demonstration or direction. Many scholars in pragmatics have madesome pioneering studies on social deixis [3, p. 89]. Fill more points out that social deixisappears in the utterance between communicators, and the deixis information can be represented on the following occasions: (1) personal deixis, e.g. pronoun; (2) various utterance platforms, e.g. honorific phrase; (3) speech context; (4) people’s names, work titles and relatives; (5) utterance forms of social acts, e.g. greeting, gratitude; (6) directional information transmitted by the speaker/writer to the hearer/reader [1, p. 157].Levinson and Jaszczolt state that some of the grammatical devices that are used for the purpose of social deixis include pronouns of politeness, titles of addressee, kinship terms, and honorifics. There are two basic kinds of social deictic information which can occur in language. The first conveys relational information. The second type of social deixisis absolute [2, p. 197].

Based on the previous studies, we analyze social deixis in “Twelth Night”from the relational and absolute sub-categories.Personal names have been used 118 times in the in which “Maria” as a personal name is recurred 6 times. Also we can face “Malvolio”, “Cesario”, “Orsino”, “Olivia”, “Sebastian”, “Feste”, “Antonio”, “Curio”, “Fabian”, “Toby” and “Viola”. “Malvolio” as a personal name is the most frequent one while “Feste” is the least one. The total number of occupational titles is 32 in a way that “sailor” as an occupational title is appliedonly 2 times. Also such titles as “servant”, “beggar”, “churchman”, “officer”, “captain”, “judge”, “handmaid”, “soldier” and “messenger” can be seen in the comedy. “Judge”, “churchman” and “handmaid” titles are the least repeated ones but “servant” is the most frequent one. T/V pronouns have been used991 times in the whole play. The total number of terms of endearment is 9 which means each term of endearment such as “bawcock”, “chuck”, “biddy”, “sweetheart”, “mouse”, “sweeting”, “sweet and twenty”, “leman”, and “dear heart” isused only once.As for absolute deictic words we can mention “lord”,“sir”,“ lady”, “mistress”, “master”,“ madam”, “Madonna” and “princess”, thus the word “sir” is the most repeated one and the word “princess” is the least repeated one that is employed only twice.

Kinship terms are linguistic labels which are used in all societies to make reference to person’s relatives. Kinship terms are different in that some of them have a very limited content such as “father” meaning the male kinsman from whom a person is directly originated from. On the other hand, “cousin” as kinship term is expansive term since many peoplecan be put under this term. to Captain:Oh, my poor brother! And so perchance may he be(TN, Act 1,Scene 2, p.7).

B.sister:Feste to Viola:I would therefore my sister had had no name, sir. (TN,Act 3,scene 1,p.85).

C.mother: Sebastian to Antonio: My bosom is full of  kindness, and I am yet so near the manners of my mother that upon the least occasion more mine eyes will tell tales of me. I am bound to the Count Orsino’s court. (TN, Act 2, scene 2, p.47).

Occupational titles offer information about the jobs that people do or the duties they carry out. The examples of their usage are the next: A.Sailor:SL Text:Viola to Sailors: Perchance he is not drowned. What think you, sailors? (TN, Act, 1, scene 2, p.7);B.Servant: SL Text:Olivia to Viola: My servant, sir? ’Twas never merry world. Since lowly feigning was called complement.You’re servant to the Count Orsino, youth. (TN, Act 3, scene 1, p.91).

Terms of endearment such as sweetie,honey,dear, etc. They are used to express feeling sentiment, friendship, admiration and intimacy toward the others by those people who are mastered in pleasing or exciting others.A.bawcock:Bawcockmeans “fine fellow” that is used as term of endearment between men in a frank way.1.SL Text:Sir Toby to Malvolio:Why, how now, my bawcok! (TN, Act 3, scene 4, p.113). B.chuck:It is a term of endearment which means “chick” or “chicken”. It was commonly used by husbands to their wives or conversely; parents to their children or by close partners, especially since seventeenth century.

1.Sir Toby to Malvolio:How dost thou, chuck?(TN, Act 3, scene 4,p.133).C.biddy:Biddy means a “chicken” which is used by Sir Toby to Malvolio for making the “fowl” theme continue.1.SL Text:Sir Toby to Malvolio:Ay, biddy, come with me. (TN, Act 3, 4,p.113).

The other deictic words are absolute:A.Lord. It is an absolute social deixis term that is used to indicate a nobleman’s status which is premodified by possessive adjectives or honorific adjectives or by the phrase right honourable.

1.Olivia to Viola:Have you any commission from your lord to negotiate with my face? You are now out of your text. (TN, Act 1, scene 5, p.39). 2.Viola to Orsino: Sure,  my noble lord, If she be abandoned to her sorrow. As it is spoke, she never will admit me. (TN, Act 1, scene 4, p.23).

C.Lady. Lady is a term which shows that a woman has a high social rank such as the master of a household or a woman has control over servants or attendants so it signals politeness when it is used to address a woman.1: Maria to Feste: Nay, either tell me where thou hast been, or I will not open my lips so wide as a bristle my enter in way of thy excuse. My lady will hang thee for thy absence. (TN, Act 1, scene 5, p.25).

  1. SL Text: Viola to Olivia: I am not fee’d post, lady. keep your pure. (TN, Act 1, scene 5, p.43).

Absolute social deictic words show gender and they are mostly used to denote politeness and deference. They are usually expressedin certain forms of address that do not display comparison of the ranking of the speaker and addressee.

We can conclude that social deicticwords used in “Twelth Night” are 1533. Relational deictic words are more frequent than Absolute deictic words, since the total number of them in “Twelth Night” is 1228 while Absolute deictic words are 304. In “Twelth Night”, one kinship term can convey different meanings, for instancethe term cousin meansuncleand niece, while terms such asbrother,sister, etcare used alone, it means they are used as terms of address or referent alone.Also personal names, occupational titles, and terms of endearment T/V pronouns are seen. The social deixis highlights a principle of peaceful relations between relatives but in the works of William Shakespeare this principle functionates on the contrary.


  1. Filmore C.Towards a Theory of Deixis:The PCCLLU papers. Honolulu : University of Hawaii, 1971.
  2. Jaszczolt K. Semantics and Pragmatics: Meaning in Language and Discourse.London : Longman,2002.
  3. Levinson S.Pragmatics. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press,
  4. Lyons J. Cambridge : Cambridge University Press, 1977.
  5. Yule G. Oxford : Oxford University Press, 1996.