the <center> of deixis


Senior Member
In some cases, the operation of sequence of tenses in indirect speech serves to preserve absolute tense. For example, if Jane says "I like chocolate", and Julie later reports that "Jane said that she liked chocolate", Julie's conversion of the present tense like into the past liked implies a reference to past time relative to the time at which Julie is speaking – the center of deixis is moved from the time of Jane's original utterance to that of Julie's current utterance. As will be seen below, however, this principle does not hold in all languages, and does not always apply even in English.
Relative and absolute tense - Wikipedia (emphasis mine)

Question: What does center mean?
  • lingobingo

    Senior Member
    English - England
    It’s the time reference, in effect – as explained in the first paragraph of the article:

    In other words, the reference point (or center of deixis) is the moment of discourse or narration in the case of absolute tense, or a different moment in the case of relative tense.​