An investigation of deictic expressions in the selected poems of Sylvia Plath


  • Samia Tabassum Assistant professor, Govt. College for women, Bhimber
  • Muammad Iqbal Butt Professor/HOD Social Sciences, Grand Asian University, Sialkot
  • Ghulam Ali Associate Professor, Center for Languages and Translation Studies, AIOU, Islamabad


deictic expressions, systemic functional grammar, style, lexico-grammatical pattern


The aim of the present study is to explore the function of deixis in the selected poems of Sylvia Plath. The prime interest is to study the role of deixis in unfolding the existing ambiguity in poetry and to explore the interdependency of deictic expressions and unique poetic style which exhibits the mind style of the poetess. The use of deixis shows a close association between the subjectivity of the speaker, the context of speech event and structure of language. Eight poems are selected through purposive sampling for the present study. It is a qualitative research; employing Levinson’s described categories of deixis. The main focus is on person, spatial and temporal deixis. Systemic Functional Grammar (SFG) by M.A.K Halliday is used for textual analysis. The finding exhibits the dominance of first person pronoun in all its forms (I, my, we, and us) occurring 140 times. The use of personal pronouns, spatial and temporal adverbs assists the poetess to relate her personal experiences and her visions in a specific spatial and temporal framework. The current study proposes that the use of lexico-grammatical patterns like deictic expressions with other elements of language have the capacity to convey the textual message.