Chapter published in:Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Vietnamese Linguistics
Edited by Nigel Duffield, Trang Phan and Tue Trinh
[Studies in Language Companion Series 211] 2019
► pp. 275–300
Effects of grammatical roles and parallelism on referential form production in Vietnamese spoken and written narratives
This study investigates the use of null and overt pronouns and noun phrases in Vietnamese spoken and written narratives, with a focus on referents’ grammatical roles and grammatical parallelism. Looking at Vietnamese allows us to address questions left open in prior work regarding the effects of pronominal form (null, overt) on reference resolution in different grammatical positions. Furthermore, looking at the use of Vietnamese pronouns adds typological breadth to the literature on reference resolution: Vietnamese overt pronouns differ typologically from pronouns in English-type languages as they also function as kin terms. Results from data we collected involving spoken and written narratives show that referential form choice is influenced not only by the grammatical role of the antecedent but also the grammatical role of the pronominal element. When the subject of the current clause refers to the subject of the preceding clause (subject parallelism), we find a high rate of (null and overt) pronouns. Lack of parallelism triggers mostly NPs. When the object of the current clause refers to the object of the preceding clause (object parallelism), more pronouns were produced than in non-parallel cases. Crucially, we find no clear differences in the distribution of null vs. overt pronouns, suggesting that grammatical roles and parallelism have the same effects on both pronoun types. Our results also show no effects of written vs. spoken modality, which indicates that modality does not play a role in the interaction between grammatical factors and referential form choice.
Keywords: reference resolution, pronouns, Vietnamese, subjecthood, parallelism, narrative
Published online: 09 October 2019
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