Manusya, Journal of Humanities


Suda Rangupan

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This paper examines participant continuity in Thai fictional narratives using the quantitative method of referential distance (RD) proposed by Givon (1983, 1995). According to Givon, referential expressions are different in terms of their RD value: average RD of full noun phrases is that of zero anaphors the lowest. However, the result from this study shows that pronouns and zero pronouns in Thai have equal average RD value while full noun phrases have much higher average RD. Moreover, zero anaphors appear to have longer distance than expected. Considering the distribution of the long distance zero anaphors in different modes of text, we have found that they tend to refer to a character whose thought is presented as self-reflected. In this case, the reader is still able to resolve the referent of the zero anaphor. Therefore, the continuity of character is maintained. We can conclude that zero anaphors are devices for maintaining participant continuity even though the distance between the anaphor and the textual antecedent is quite long. Thus, we argue that features of the deictic center need to be taken into account in the investigation of participant continuity.

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