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Bejo Sutrisno, M.Pd.







This research is about oral discourse which is more focused on interactional communication. The purpose of this research is to find the external elements of the discourse. The research subjects taken were the vegetable seller or TSK (Tukang Sayur Keliling) and two buyers (Ibu Susanti and Mpok Minah) in a complex Taman Kintamani, Tambun – Bekasi. This research used Ethnomethodology research. Data collected using the recording between the research subjects and hand notes. While the instruments used in this research is the researcher by using handphone recorder and notes. The data are analyzed using content analysis technique and then the data is described to find the external elements of text about deixis. The external elements are (1) person deixis, (2) place deixis, (3) time deixis, (4) discourse deixis and (5) social deixis.


Key words: pragmatics, text, deixis, external elements.



Languages are not just  sets of symbols. They also often conform to a rough grammar, or system of rules, used to manipulate the symbols. While sets of symbols may be used for expression or communication because there are no clear or regular relationships its symbols to express clear and regular relationships between them. Donoghue (1975: 5) states that language is an instrument of social power. It influences beliefs, attitudes, and behavior. It may even be used, in its extreme form, to control and manipulate thought.

       By using a language, people can communicate for many purposes.  The use of language as a means of communication is the natural phenomena which occurs in a human community. In a community, language is spoken contextually under circumstances. In a language field, the study of contextual meaning is called pragmatics. Pragmatics is one of the linguistic branches which concerns with the study of meaning as communicated by a speaker (or writer) and interpreted by a listener (or reader). It has, consequently, more to do with the analysis of what people mean by their utterances than what the words or phrases in those utterances might mean by themselves. In other words, pragmatics is also the study of speaker meaning (Yule, 1996:3).

        Yule (1996) also states that one traditional distinction in language analysis contrast syntax and semantics. Syntax is the study of the relationships between linguistic forms, how they are arranged in sequence, and which sequences are well formed. Semantics is the study of the relationships between linguistic forms and entities in the world: that is how words literally connect to things. Meanwhile, pragmatics is the study of the relationships between linguistic forms and the users of those forms. In this three-part distinction, only pragmatics allows humans into the analysis.

       Based on the observation that the writer studied, it was found that the communication between vegetable seller (Tukang Sayur Keliling/ TSK) and buyers (Pembeli: Bu Santi and Mpok Mina) are not syntactically and semantically. This phenomena arouses the researcher to study more deeply to analyze the communication pragmatically. One of the phenomena which is interesting to study is the external elements, in this case is deixis (person deixis, place deixis, time deixis, discourse deixis and social deixis) in a conversation between TSK and buyers.

       There are some problems identified from the conversation between TSK and buyers that the writer arouses in this research such as; (a) Do TSK and buyers speak syntactically?; (b) Do they speak semantically?; (c) Do They speak using some external elements in this case is deixis?; and (e) What types of deixis they use in their conversation?

       The main focus of this research is the external elements of a text of a conversation between a vegetable seller or TSK and buyers. The sub-focuses of this research are to see whether there are the external elements or not which appear in a text.  The external elements are (1) person deixis, (2) place deixis, (3) time deixis, (4) discourse deixis, and (5) social deixis.

       The purpose of this research is to find out (1) the external elements of a text which is transcribed from short conversation into a text between TSK and buyers in a “complex of Taman Kintamani, Tambun – Bekasi” , and (2) another element which is not appeared in a text.


This simple research reviews some theories on conversation analysis which consists of the external elements of a text in a language. It has been divided into three sections:  Definition of Text, Understanding of a Deixis, and types of Deixes.


Definition of Text

       Discourse analysis is more interesting in how the sentences in a text are organized, how they relate to one another. Understanding a text, there are some linguists give the definition differently. Nuttall (1996:24) states that a text is a piece of language, complete in itself and written (or spoken) for a purpose. It could consist of a single sentence or even a single word, such as a sign saying DANGER! Text is the main body of printed words in a book as opposed to the notes and illustrations, etc. Lyons (1996:263) states simply that a text is a sequence of sentences. Whereas, Mulyana (2005:1) cited by Zubaidah (Jurnal  Bahtera no. 9, 2006:23), states that text is a very complete and complex language element. To write a good text, a writer should know how to organize the structure and content what they want to write.

       Naturally, there is a great deal of interest in the structure of discourse, with particular attention being paid to what makes a well-formed text. Within this structural perspective, the focus is on topics such as the explicit connections between sentences in a text that create cohesion, or on elements of textual organization that are characteristic of storytelling, for example, as distinct from opinion expressing and other text types (Yule, 1996: 84). Yule also states that within the study of discourse, the pragmatic perspective is one specialized. It tends to focus specifically on aspects of what is unsaid or unwritten (yet communicated) within the discourse being analyzed. External elements of text are to be parts of a text, but it is not stated explicitly, Brown and Yule (1983:28-34).  

       From the statements above that in analyzing a discourse or a text, the pragmatic perspective is more specialized.


Understanding a Deixis

       Understanding the definition of deixis, many linguists have presented the definition of deixis variously.  Jaszczolt (2002: 191) states that ‘deixis’ derives from Ancient Greek which means ‘to show’, ‘to point out. Deixis is the phenomenon of encoding contextual information by means of lexical items of grammatical distinctions that provide this information only when paired with this context. In other words, it means lexicalizing or grammaticalizing  contextual information, that is making it into obligatory grammatical or lexical distinctions. They give instructions to the addressee that context has to be consulted in order to grasp the meaning of the utterance. Fromkin in her book “An Introduction to Language (1998: 199) says that in all languages there are many words and expressions whose reference relies entirely on the situational context of the utterance and can only be understood in light of these circumstances. This aspect of pragmatics is called deixis. First and second person pronouns such as; my, mine, you, your, yours, we, ours, and us are always deictic because their reference is entirely dependent on context. You must know who the speaker and listener are in order to interpret them.

       Meanwhile, Yule (1996:9) states that deixis is a technical term (from Greek) for one of the most basic things we do with utterances. It meas ‘pointing’ is called a deictic expression. Hurford (1984:63) also states that a deictic word is one which takes some element of its meaning from the situation (i.e. the speaker, the addressee, the time and the place) of the utterance in which it is used. Furthermore, Jack Richards, (1985:75) states in their book “Longman Dictionary of Applied Linguistics” that deixis is a term for a word or phrase which directly relates an utterance to a time, place, or person(s).

       Since deictic expressions only require meaning when interpreted by the hearer, they belong to the domain of pragmatics. However, since the resolution of their meaning is necessary in order to know the meaning of the proposition and its truth conditions, then at the same time they are in the domain of semantics. In other words, in the case of deictic expressions, the pragmatic processes of reference resolution intrude into the semantics. Geneally, deictic expressions are slots, place-holders for referring expressions, which in turn are provided by the context, that is by the situation, previous discourse, pointing and so forth.

       In pragmatics and linguistics, deixis is a process whereby words or expressions rely absolutely on context. A word that depends on deictic clues is called a deictic or a deictic word. Pro-forms are generally considered to be deictics, but a finer distinction is often made between personal pro-forms such as I, you, and it (commonly referred to as personal pronouns) and pro-forms that refer to places and times such as now, then, here, there. In most texts, the word deictic implies the latter but not necessarily the former.

       It is common for languages to show at least a two-way referential distinction in their deictic system: proximal, i.e. near or closer to the speaker, and distal, i.e. far from the speaker and/or closer to the addressee. English exemplifies this with such pairs as this and that, here and there, etc. in other languages the distinction is three-way: proximal, i.e. near the speaker, medial, i.e. near the addressee, and distal, i.e. far from both.

       It is clear that the meaning of utterance in deictic expression can be interpreted through context and we must know who the speaker and listener are being interpreted by certain situation.


Types of Deixis

       Deictic expressions are also sometimes called indexicals or indexical expressions but some philosophers confine the term ‘indexical’ only to pronouns ‘I’ and ‘you’ and adverbs ‘here’ and ‘now because their role in a sentence is constant.  According to Jaszczolt,  Deixis has been  classified in the literature as (1) person deixis; (2) place deixis; (3) time deixis; (4) discourse deixis; and (5) social deixis. Those types of deixis are discussed as follows:


1)  Person deixis

Person deixis encodes the role of participants in the speech event, such as speaker, addressee, other entities. Person deixis is encoded in pronouns: ‘I’ for the speaker, ‘you’ for the addressee, ‘he’, ‘she’, ‘it’, ‘we’, ‘they’, for others. Pronoun system different from language to language: different information is grammaticalized.  Person deixis can be grasped only when we understand the roles of the speaker, source of the utterance, recipient, the target of the utterance, and hearers who are not addressees or targets. Only then can we successfully replace the pronoun and adjectives as in the examples of (a) by those in (b) or (c) in processing the utterance.


(a)   Give me your hand.

(b)   Give him your hand.

(c)   I give him my hand.


2)  Place deixis

Place deixis encodes spatial locations relative to the interlocutors. Here we allocate demonstratives – proximal and distal in English, and adverbs of place: ‘here’ and ‘there’. Place deixis specifies the location relative to the speaker and the addressee as in ‘ten meters further’, ‘ten miles east of here’, ‘here’, ‘there’.  ‘Here’ as the unit of space the includes the place the location of the speakers at the time of the utterance or a location proximal to the speaker’s location at the time of the utterance the place pointed at if the use of ‘here’ is gestural.  In some cultures, demonstratives can be distinguished on principles other than distance from the speaker, such as (i) close to the addressee, (ii) close to the audience, (iii) close to persons not participating in the event as well as (iv) on the basis of directions – above, below, or even (v) visible-non-visible to the speaker or (vi) upriver-downriver from the speaker, depending on the system of conceptualizing space used in the particular language. Place deixis can also be used for time as in an example (d).


(d)   I live ten minutes from here.


Place deixis presupposes time deixis: the locations are specified with respect to the time of utterance.

       It is not always easy to decide whether the use of an expression is deictic or non-deictic. For example, in (e), the tree can be at the back of the car or hidden from view by the car.


(e)   The tree is behind the car.


Similarly, in an example (f), the boy can be placed to Tom’s left or to the left of Tom from the speaker’s point of reference.


(f)   The boy is to the left of Tom.


3)  Time deixis

Time deixis encodes temporal units relative to the time of the utterance. Here we distinguish coding time (time of utterance) and receiving time (time of the recovery of the information by the hearer). Tense markers and adverbs of time (‘now’, ‘tomorrow’, ‘next year’) also belong to this category. Time deixis is also oriented towards the in  discourse. ‘Now’ means the time at which the speaker is producing the utterance. It is the coding time, different from the receiving time, although in practice the events of coding and receiving are , with an allowed approximation, co-temporal. The deictic centre can be projected on to the addressee as in an example below. ‘Now’ refers to the time at which the addressee learns the truth, which follows the time at which the author of the letter coded the message.

For example:

(g)  You know the whole truth now. I knew it a week ago, so I wrote this letter.


4)  Discourse deixis

Discourse deixis encodes reference to portion of discourse. Discourse deixis is not  one of the basic deictic categories. By means of this device we can refer to portions of discourse, as in ‘in the last paragraph’, ‘this story’, sentence-initial ‘therefore’, ‘in conclusion’, ‘anyway’, ‘all in all’, where the reference is relative to the utterance.

       Discourse deixis is deictic reference to a portion of a discourse relative to the speaker’s current “location” in the discourse. Example, the use of this to refer to a story one is about to tell in:

(h)   I bet you haven’t heard this story.  (Levisnon 1983:63)


Another example of discourse deixis is:

(i)   I keep my car in the garage but my next-door neighbor keeps it in is drive.


We call this usage of ‘it’ discourse-deictic. C. Lyons (1999:28) calls this an example of an identify of sense anaphora. Discourse deixis also encodes reference to portion of discourse as in (j).

(j)   I am hungry – that is what I said.


5)  Social deixis

Social deixis encodes social relationships and other social distinctions. Social deixis concerns social relationships between participants, their status and relations to the topic of discourse. Relationships that are relevant in their type of deixis include these between the speaker and the addressee, between other participants, the speaker and the object spoken about and soon. Devices used for the purpose of this deixis include varying forms of address, pronouns of politeness, kinship terms and honorifics, in particular addressee and referent honorifics.   

Social deixis is the use of different deictics to express social distinctions. An example is difference between formal and polite pro-forms. Relational social deixis is where the form of word used indicates the relative social status of the addressor and the addressee. For example, one pro-form might be used to address those of higher social rank, another to address those of less or social rank, another to address those of the same social rank. By contrast, absolute social deixis indicates a social standing irrespective of the social standing of the speaker. Thus, village chiefs might always be addressed by a special pro-form, regardless of whether it is someone below them, above them or at the same level of the social hierarchy who is doing the addressing.

From the five types of deixis above, some linguists (Charles Fillmore, Stephen Levinson), in Jaszczolt, analyze all five types of deixis as instances of the same phenomenon. But discourse and social deixis seem to differ from the three basic categories of person, place and time deixis. They grammaticalize or lexicalize certain distinctions relative to context, but may not need context for interpreting them.





       The method used in this paper is qualitative research  method  which emphasizes on ethnomethodology in which the link between a group’s everyday activities and its social structure (Gay, 2000:202). This research is to describe and interpret the exact data based on the phenomena the researcher found.  The main data in this research is recorded data which is transcribed into a text between TSK and buyers. The research data was gained by recording and transcribing into a text. Before doing the research, observation was studied and continued with data collection. Recoding was done when TSK arrived in front of the buyer’s house and the process of selling and buying was occurring. The instrument used in this research is the researcher himself using hand phone recorder and hand notes. The whole data is analyzed based on content analysis which is transcribed from the recording. Based on the transcription to the text, the external elements are found which appear based on the context.





There are five external elements found in this simple research which are transcribe to the text ( person deixis, place deixis,  time deixis,  discourse deixis, and  social deixis). The five external elements are discussed as follows:


1)   Person deixis

       Person deixis which appears from the conversation between TSK and buyers is cited below.


(1)        Bu Santi           : Kemarin nggak jualan Bang Dul?

                                     (Mr. Dul, didn’t You  sell vegetables yesterday?)

            TSK                 : Si kecil lagi nggak enak badan.

                                     (My little daughter was sick)


       The word ‘Si kecil’, it is clear that ‘Si kecil’ is the TSK’s daughter. Between the speaker and the addressee understand who ‘Si kecil’ is. The addressee knows that Bang Dul has a little daughter. Pay attention to the utterance below.


(2)        Bu Santi           : Ayamnya habis bang?

                                     (Is the chicken  sold out, sir?)

TSK                 : Hari ini Cuma bawa dua potong.

  Yang sepotong dibeli sama tetangga dan yang satunya -

   lagi sama Ibu Rahmat yang punya wartel.

(Today, I only brought two chickens. One was bought by my neighbor and the other one by Mrs. Rahmat the owner of public phone).


       The word ‘tetangga’ means ‘my neighbor’  it means the speaker’s neighbor, in this case TSK’s neighbor.  The word ‘saya’ uttered by Bu Santi below is also a person deixis.


(3)        Bu Santi           : Besok saya pesen satu potong ya bang, buat bikin opor.


       The word ‘saya’ in (3) refers to the speaker/addressor. It is understood that ‘saya’ is Bu Santi.  But the word ‘emaknya’ in (4) means TSK’s little daughter’s mother (TSK’s wife). Contextually, between the speaker and listener understand that meaning.


(4)        Bu Santi           : Kan ada emaknya di rumah?

                                      (There was her mother at home. Wasn’t there?)

TSK                 : Emaknya juga repot nungguin warung.

                                     (Her mother was also busy  waiting the stall)


2)   Place deixis

Place deixis specifies the location relative to the speaker and the addressee. Look at (5), the word ‘rumah’ means a place which belongs to the speaker, Bang Dul’s family.


(5)        Bu Santi           : Kan ada emaknya di rumah?

                                      (There was her mother at home. Wasn’t there?)


3)   Time deixis

Time deixis encodes temporal units relative to the time of the utterance. Pay attention to sentence (6).


(6)        Bu Santi          : Kemarin nggak jualan Bang Dul?

                                     (Mr. Dul, didn’t You sell vegetables yesterday?)


       The word ‘kemarin’ implies the day before the speaker uttered. It is understood between the speaker ad the hearer. Other examples can be seen in sentences (7) and (8). These sentences concise Time deictic expression.


(7)        Bu Santi           : Besok saya pesen satu potong ya bang, buat bikin opor.

                                    (Sir, tomorrow I order one chicken to make chicken curry)

(8)        Bu Santi           : Nih kembali dua ribu. Jangan lupa besok ayamnya ya.

                                     (here it is, give me change two thousands. Don’t forget to

                                  bring my order tomorrow)


       In sentences (7) and (8) the word ‘besok’ refers to one day after that day the speaker uttered. It means between speaker and listener understood what the speaker means.


4)   Discourse deixis

       Pay attention to sentences (9), (10) and (11).


(9)        Mpok Minah    : Ini wortel berapa bang?

                                    (How much is this carrot, sir?)

TSK                 : Tujuh ratus aja.

                        (just seven hundreds)


(10)      Mpok Minah    : Udah nih bang hitung berapa semua.

                                    (How much are these all?)

(11)      TSK                 : …….. semua jadi tiga ribu tujuh ratus.

                                    (….. all becomes three thousand-seven hundreds)

(12)      Bu Santi           : nih bang hitung, berapa semua?

                                    (Here they are. How much are these all?)


       The word ‘ini’ in (9) and ‘nih’ in (10) and (12) as well as the word ‘semua’ in (10), (11) and (12) are discourse deictic expression because they encode reference to portion of discourse.


5)   Social deixis

       Pay attention to the social deixis in this conversation.


(13)      Bu Santi           : Ayamnya habis bang?

                                     (Is the chicken sold out, sir?)

(14)      TSK                 : Hari ini Cuma bawa dua potong.

  Yang sepotong dibeli sama tetangga dan yang satunya -

   lagi sama Ibu Rahmat yang punya wartel.

(Today, I only brought two chickens. One was bought by my neighbor and the other one by Mrs. Rahmat the owner of public phone).


       In sentence (13) the word ‘bang’ to indicate that the speaker addresses to the addressor politely, meanwhile in (14) the word ‘ibu’ is culturally used to respect an older woman or to address a woman politely.



       Based on data analysis, the writer found the five external elements of deictic expression in conversation which is transcribed into a text. The five external elements are (1) person deixis, (2) place deixis, (3) time deixis, (4) discourse deixis and (5) social deixis. It shows that the external elements in a language cannot be separated  and it must be communicated by a speaker and interpreted by listener contextually and pragmatically. Only the addressor and addressee can understand  the meaning in certain situation.





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