THIS, THAT and the OTHER: An Introduction to Linguistic Referring (LIN2105.01)

Thomas Leddy-Cecere

How do we, as users of language, guide others to successfully follow our attention and intention in referring to elements of shared physical, social and discursive worlds? How do we, as consumers of language, integrate linguistic signals with available context to successfully interpret these acts of reference? In this class, we will draw on data from a wide range of languages to understand the linguistic concepts of indexicality, deixis and anaphora, which describe the human ability to anchor, orient and follow language in space, time and interaction. Building from the functions of “pointing” words like English THIS and THAT, we will extend our exploration to include concepts such as HERE and NOW, YOU and I, and how we use language to meaningfully refer back upon itself. Through these investigations, we will work to gain an appreciation of the robust and flexible strategies deployed in the construction of the linguistic “self” and its mediation to other “selves” with whom we communicate.


Learning Outcomes:
Comprehend the diverse types and functions of referring expressions utilized across world languages.
Articulate the shared principles and conceptual structures which unify these structures within and between languages.
Place these understandings in a broader context of inter-subjective communication and our own participation in it.



Delivery Method: Fully in-person
Course Level: 2000-level
Credits: 4
T/F 10:30AM - 12:20PM (Full-term)
Maximum Enrollment: 20
Course Frequency: One time only

Categories: Cultural Studies and Languages , Sociolinguistics , Fully In-Person , All courses
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