May 01, 2006

See here

To amplify somewhat Mark's explanation of what's going on when Jim Lehrer and Elizabeth Vargas (for example) close their TV news shows with "We'll see you here tomorrow," I think that if David Giacalone had been as worried about the use of "here" in this utterance as he was about the use of "see," he might have divined the answer to his question.

It's well nigh impossible to give a literal interpretation to "here" in the context of a person on TV addressing viewers in this way. Whatever "here" means, it's not "in the studio I'm talking from now." What seems to be going on, consistent with what Mark says, is the pretense of a face-to-face encounter. In real life, if I "see you here tomorrow", that means we will meet face-to-face. Moreover, it's usual to say "(I'll) see you tomorrow" to convey "We'll meet tomorrow," as in "I'll see you tomorrow, so you can tell me the rest then." As Mark says about Hank Williams's sign-off, "He's trying to make the listener feel that he's right here with them." It seems like a pretty harmless fiction: "I'm right there in your living room, so I'm entitled to refer to your living room as 'here'."

Posted by Paul Kay at May 1, 2006 05:44 AM