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ERIC Number: ED308721
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1987-Oct
Pages: 14
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: N/A
Predictability, Importance, and Case Marking in Japanese.
Yanagida, Yuko
This study examines the object case markings "o" and "ga" in Japanese with respect to the degree of predictability. A speaker who assumes that the listener will have difficulty identifying the referent, tends to use a construction type that enables the listener to uniquely identify the referent. This notion of predictability is investigated on two planes, referential predictability and thematic predictability, through three sets of experiments. One additional experiment is used to study the closely related concept of thematic importance, reflected by topic persistence of a referent in subsequent discourse. The subjects for the study were 25 native-Japnese-speaking students at the University of Oregon. Subjects were asked to choose either "ga" or "o" in the appropriate position in the text frames provided. The results of the first experiment indicate that there is no significant correlation between the use of "ga" and previous mention of the referents. The second and third experiments focused on thematic probability, and results indicated that "ga" is likely to mark a referent that is less predictable at a given moment in a sentence. The fourth experiment examined thematic importance, and results strongly supported the idea that "ga" is used with thematically important referents that persist longer in the subsequent discourse. English translations of the artificially constructed text frames are appended. (DJD)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A