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How to refer to yourself when talking to yourself

Lookup NU author(s): Emeritus Professor Anders Holmberg



In talk addressed to yourself (for those who engage in such activity) either I or you can be used when referring to yourself (e.g. What's wrong with me? or What's wrong with you?). The use of you is constrained, though. It can’t refer to the self in assertions about the self’s state of mind, including thoughts, feelings, and intentions. In those cases I is the only option. This is because self-talk-you is 'mindless', thus sharing with ordinary dialogue-you the property of not being controlled by the mind of the speaker. In self-talk there is a speaker (I) and an addressee (you), who can even be represented in the same sentence (I know you can do it!), both pronouns denoting the self. This is possible, without violation of any principles of binding, because in normal self-talk there is ONLY ONE MIND, which can only be addressed as I.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Holmberg A

Publication type: Report

Publication status: Published

Series Title: Newcastle Working Papers in Linguistics

Year: 2010

Pages: 57-65

Report Number: v.16

Institution: Centre for Research in Linguistics and Language Sciences (CRiLLS), Newcastle Universty

Place Published: Newcastle upon Tyne