Date: Thu, 14 Mar 1996 07:49:26 -0500

From: "Dennis R. Preston" preston[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]PILOT.MSU.EDU

Subject: Re: "this Thursday"

See Chuck Fillmore's 'Santa Cruz Lectures on Deixis' for a discussion of

different 'dialacts' regarding the boundaries of 'next' and 'last.' My wife

and I belong to different ones, resulting in much confusion (and, after we

discovered our problem, interesting clarification routines).

For example, it's Monday and you say you are leaving 'next Thursday.' Which

Thursday is that? We have a marked family difference (mine is the Thursday

of the following week; my wife's is the 'very next' Thursday of the same

week). I am sure this variation is widespread, but, I suspect, it does not

have geographical significance.

Never had a prpoblem w/ "this Thursday", like Alice. But when the

period is much longer, ambiguity arises. Eg, in October, Nov, even

Dec. one might still want to refer to the just-passed summer as "this

summer", though logically it should be "last summer"-- that tendency

to stress nearness on the proximal deictic, rather than future-ness,

actually seems entirely logical too, though it's a different logic!

--peter patrick

georgetown u. lx.

Dennis R. Preston

Department of Linguistics and Languages

Michigan State University

East Lansing MI 48824-1027 USA


Office: (517)432-1235

Fax: (517)432-2736