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Any of an important class of words whose meaning can only be fully determined by context. Also known as a shifter (Roman Jakobson's preferred choice), a deictic is a word like the pronouns ‘I’ or ‘you’ whose meaning varies according to context because their principal function is indicative rather than semantic. Their role is of particular interest in literary and critical studies because of the complexities of their use in reported speech.

Subjects: Literary Theory and Cultural Studies.

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