Then as an Indicator of Deictic Discontinuity in Adults' Oral Descriptions of a Film An analysis of film descriptions of 20 normal-language adults revealed the adults' selective and systematic use of the word then. Then served to indicate an upcoming shift in discourse deixis. It occurred in clauses that told of a shift to a different discourse frame (conversation vs. story world of the ... Research Article
Research Article  |   December 01, 1992
Then as an Indicator of Deictic Discontinuity in Adults' Oral Descriptions of a Film
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Judith Felson Duchan
    Department of Communicative Disorders and Sciences State University of New York at Buffalo
  • Margaret Meth
    Program in Speech and Hearing Sciences City University of New York
  • Dava Waltzman
    Program in Speech and Hearing Sciences City University of New York
  • Contact author: Judith Felson Duchan, PhD, 130 Jewett Parkway, Buffalo, NY 14214
Article Information
Audiologic / Aural Rehabilitation / Augmentative & Alternative Communication / Normal Language Processing / Speech, Voice & Prosody / Language / Research Articles
Research Article   |   December 01, 1992
Then as an Indicator of Deictic Discontinuity in Adults' Oral Descriptions of a Film
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, December 1992, Vol. 35, 1367-1375. doi:10.1044/jshr.3506.1367
History: Received October 9, 1991 , Accepted June 2, 1992
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, December 1992, Vol. 35, 1367-1375. doi:10.1044/jshr.3506.1367
History: Received October 9, 1991; Accepted June 2, 1992

An analysis of film descriptions of 20 normal-language adults revealed the adults' selective and systematic use of the word then. Then served to indicate an upcoming shift in discourse deixis. It occurred in clauses that told of a shift to a different discourse frame (conversation vs. story world of the film), to a new scene location, to a different character, and a shift in who was doing the viewing. The regularity in the use of then is taken to be evidence that speakers conceptualize their descriptions as being located in a variety of related frames, all having to do with the perspective taken on the current talk. A conceptual model underlying the speakers' use of then would need to include distinctions between the conversational and story world, the various scenes in the objective world of the story, and various subjective views that different observers can have when experiencing the described events. The results are taken as support for viewing discourse discontinuity as an important factor in discourse analysis.

Acknowledgments
This research was supported by NSF Grant No. IRf&2014;8610517 to G. Bruder, J. Duchan, E. Segal, W. Rapaport, S. Shapiro, and D. Zubin and is based on data published in Chafe (1980) . The authors would like to thank Erwin Segal and Lynne Hewitt for their helpful comments on earlier drafts, Catherine Kelly for her aid in carrying out the reliability study, and the Program in Speech and Hearing Sciences at the CUNY Graduate Center for the visiting professorship awarded to J. Duchan during the time this paper was developed.
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