Author ORCID Identifier

Date Available


Year of Publication


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Document Type

Master's Thesis


Arts and Sciences


Linguistic Theory & Typology

First Advisor

Dr. Dennis Preston


The film Who Killed Captain Alex? (WKCA) is a Ugandan film that provides an opportunity to examine the use of pragmatic and specifically deictic features to study the manipulation of borders between the film and reality. A commentator called the Video Joker (VJ) is the film’s deictic center, constantly destabilizing deictic relations and orienting the internal and external pragmatics of the film around themself. As the film’s ultimate pragmatic force, they occupy a position blurring diegesis and non-diegesis due to originating as real-time film commentators before being edited into the text. In this unique position, they shift the deixis’s organization through both speaking English in a Luganda-language film and their orientation to the film’s internal and external pragmatics. The manipulation and destabilization of film’s ontological borders is understood by applying Bakhtin’s concept of heteroglossia, that of enregisterment and Deleuze and Guattari’s social pragmatics and order word concepts to the VJ. These approaches are framed together with the surrounding cinematic language understood through the framework of Roger Odin’s Semio-Pragmatics. This thesis examines how the VJ exerts the ultimate influence on WKCA’s internal and external pragmatics through manipulating the film’s deictic field, stemming from their unique ontological role between diegesis and non-diegesis.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

Funding Information

University of Kentucky Masters in Linguistic Theory and Typology Program 2022-2024