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1. Term adopted by Jakobson from the Danish linguist Otto Jespersen (1860–1943) for indexical symbols in language—grammatical units with a deictic character (such as personal pronouns), which can be decoded only by reference to the specific situational context of particular messages: time, place, addresser and addressee. See also deixis.

2. More broadly, any sign having a referent which can be determined only in relation to the situational context of its use.

Subjects: Media Studies.

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