Deixis and anaphora

Deixis refers to words and phrases, such as "me" or "here", that cannot be fully understood without additional contextual information—in this case, the identity of the speaker ("me") and the speaker's location ("here"). Words are deictic if their semantic meaning is fixed but their denotational meaning varies depending on time and/or place. Words or phrases that require contextual information to convey any meaning—for example, English pronouns—are deictic. Deixis is closely related to anaphora, as will be further explained below. Although this article deals primarily with deixis in spoken language, the concept is sometimes applied to written language, gestures, and communication media as well.

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at