Pronouns

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  • Every language has a group of words called deixis, whose interpretation depends on the context of utterances. Personal pronouns are one type of such words: Unlike count nouns (e.g., man) and proper nouns (e.g., David), the person referred to by a personal pronoun shifts depending on the discourse situation, although each pronoun has a fixed deictic meaning. First-person pronouns refer to the person producing the word, while second-person pronouns refer to the person addressed. Third-person pronouns refer to a nonaddressee and have distinct masculine and feminine forms in the case of singular forms. Children must discover the systematic relationship between pronouns and speech roles in order to acquire the deictic meaning of personal pronouns. In English, most children show few production errors as they learn ...

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