Presentation on theme: "The distribution of pronouns Human communication takes place in space, time, and socio-physical environment between human beings; These components."— Presentation transcript:
The distribution of pronouns
Human communication takes place in space, time, and socio-physical environment between human beings; These components of human communication are known as deixis or deictic expressions; Deixis is “a grammatical category which reveals our conceptualization of human beings as objects in space and of human language as an object in time” (Marmaridou, 2000: p. 99); Pronouns stand for person and social deictic expressions; Person deixis determines participant roles in a speech situation, with the speaker (i.e. “I”) as a deictic center; Social deixis anchors language in its immediate social context of use;
I WE YOUONE HESHETHEY THESE IT THOSE (Wilson, 1990).
First, a disclaimer: Given all the fussing about dangerous radical professors these days, I should make it clear that while I teach at the University of Texas at Austin, I don’t speak for the university. I repeat: What I’m about to say is not official policy of the University of Texas. It’s more important to make it clear that I don’t claim to speak FOR anyone. Instead, I try to speak with people, to speak as part of a movement for justice and peace. And in nearly 800 cities and towns across the United States today – and all around the world - people are in the streets together saying no to war, no to U.S. aggression, no to empire. (Robert Jensen, Speech given at the Austin, TX, antiwar rally marking the second anniversary of the U.S. invasion of Iraq, March 19, 2005)
Once across the river and into the wholesale district, she glanced about her for some likely door at which to apply. As she contemplated the wide windows and imposing signs, she became conscious of being gazed upon and understood for what she was — a wage-seeker. She had never done this thing before and lacked courage. (Theodore Dreiser, Sister Carrie, Ch. III, p.18)
We/They We/You I/We
CARTER: Well I’ve been through this before, Mr Gannon, as the Governor of Georgia. When I took over we had a bureaucratic mess like we have in Washington now. And we had 300 agencies, departments, bureaus, commissions, some fully budgeted, some not … And WE cut those 300 agencies and so forth down substantially. We eliminated 278 of them. We set up a simple structure of government that could be administered fairly … It hasn’t been undone since I was there …. I intend to do the same thing if I am elected President. When I get to Washington, coming in as an outsider, one of the major responsibilities that I will have on my shoulder is the complete reorganization of the executive branch of government. We now have a greatly expanded White House staff. When Mr Wilson went into office, for instance, we had 30 million dollars spent on the White House and its staff. That has escalated to 160 millions in the last Republican administration. This needs to be changed. We need to put the responsibilities back on the cabinet members (Bitzer and Rueter, 1980, pp , quoted in Wilson, 1990, pp. 50-1).
WE implicates the audience in the content of discourse and is more intimate and solidary: Two doctors discussing a patient they are about to operate on: “Shall we get started?” The complexity of the use of inclusive WE is a claim for authority to speak on behalf of the audience. In its empathic use, WE stands for YOU as in We are going to have our injection now; In its “ceremonial” use, WE replaces an I in academic discourse as in: We will argue in this dissertation for the role of smoking in lung cancer;
I see things this way: The people who did this act on America, and who may be planning further acts, are evil people. They don't represent an ideology, they don't represent a legitimate political group of people. They're flat evil. That's all they can think about, is evil. And as a nation of good folks, we're going to hunt them down, and we're going to find them, and we will bring them to justice. Ours is a nation that does not seek revenge, but we do seek justice. And I don't care how long it takes to rout out terrorism, we're going to do it. We will take the time and effort and spend the resources necessary to not only find these who -- these evildoers who did what they did to America on September the 11th, this is a larger campaign against anybody who hates freedom, anybody who can't stand what America and our allies and friends stand for. (Remarks by President Bush to Employees at the FBI, U.S. Newswire, 25 Sep 15:34).
Usually, WE is inclusive of people other than the person of the speaker “We shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds” (Winston Churchill); When it is exclusive, WE does not involve the audience but is used by the speaker to distance him-/herself from the audience as in “We in the West live for freedom and democracy;” WE also constructs a WE/THEY dichotomy as in “We don’t have poverty like the Third World” constructs a communality with the audience by including it, and assumes a different “they” (the Third World). The pronoun system is often manipulated to create in-group and out-group patterns that encourage polarization and divisiveness;
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If the “I/WE” combination is used in the text: Identify and describe the various references of “I” and “WE”; Interpret the stylistic effect(s) they have (self-confidence, boasting, responsibility, self-commitment, disengagement from responsibility, solidarity, respect/disrespect, attributing merit to the self/attributing merit to the others, etc.) If the “WE/THEY” combination is used in the text: Identify and describe the way “WE” is presented and the way “THEY” is presented; Interpret the stylistic effect(s) they have (positive self-presentation, in-group formation, harmony, cohesiveness, speaking on behalf of the audience, negative other-presentation, out-group formation, divisiveness, polarization, denigration, rejection, marginalization, etc.) If the “WE/YOU” combination is used in the text: Identify and describe what “WE” and “YOU” stand for; Interpret the stylistic effect(s) they have (authority of the institution, confidence of customers in the institution; serving, respecting, sympathizing, and being solidary with the customer,, etc.)?