Cognitive Poetics: Deixis

My reading and response to Cognitive Poetics: An Introduction and Cognitive Poetics in Practice continues with chapters on deixis, a term that refers to language’s capacity to have distinct meanings in different contexts. For example, left/right  indicate meaningful directions that change in relation to an individual’s orientation. East/west , in contrast, indicate directions that do not depend on orientation. Left/right  are deictic expressions.

For cognitive poetics, deixis describes the experience readers have of being in  a story. The deictic shift deeper into a story is called a push, and the shift further out of a story is called a pop. In Cognitive Poetics: An Introduction, Stockwell identifies a spectrum of deictic levels experienced while reading and writing fiction. At the furthest level out are the real author and real reader. At the deepest level in are the characters. Between these two extremes are the implied author, narrator, idealized reader, and more. Pushing in and popping out are what give the narrative texture. Stockwell also identifies five different modes of deictic […]