2. Different Usages of Deixis

It is necessary to remark that certain words or expressions are not always deictic but become deictic only in certain structures. In the course of this it is important to distinguish between gestural and symbolic usage of deictic terms.

Gestural usage of deictic expressions signifies the combination of indexicals with gestures which point to the referent. Consequently the addressee must be audio-visually present during the utterance to be able to understand it. Mostly the demonstrative pronouns this and that are combined with a gesture. But there are very few English words which can be used only gestural, e.g. the toast cheers (Levinson 2005, 101-103; Kryk-Kastovsky 1995, 331; Levinson 1983, 65-68).

The symbolic usage of deictic terms expects the addressee only to know the “basic spatio-temporal parameters of the speech event” (Levinson 1983, 65).

The same words and expressions which are used deictically can also have an anaphoric or a non-anaphoric meaning. For instance a pronoun which is used anaphorically will refer to an antecedent that was mentioned earlier. Non-anaphoric use does not require a referent at all.

Let us recapitulate: “Different usages of deictic terms” (Levinson 1983, 68)

1. deictic:a. gestural
 b. symbolic
2. non-deictic:c. non-anaphoric
 d. anaphoric

In the following let us look at the four kinds of usage by means of the demonstrative pronoun that.