|Japanese demonstratives in television dramas: variance and invariance|
Yasuko Ito Watt
Uploaded by: Pocket Masters
Pockets: Gottesman Libraries Archive, Historical Dissertations
Tags: analysis, Discourse analysis, Japanese language, Spoken Japanese, Television plays
JAPANESE DEMONSTRATIVES IN TELEVISION DRAMAS: VARIANCE AND INVARIANCE
YASUKO ITO WATT
In Japanese, there is a set of three demonstratives that begin with ko, so and a. According to the mainstream pedagogical model, ko is used in referring to objects near the speaker; so in referring to objects near the hearer, and a in referring to objects away from both the speaker and the hearer. These demonstratives are used in referring not only to physical objects (situational reference), but also to previous statements (textual reference) as well as to thoughts and feelings in the mind of the speaker (internal reference).
This study analyzes the distribution of 876 occurrences of ko, so and a in five television dramas (the duration of these dramas was five and a half hours). In the first of two major types of analyses carried out in the dissertation, the relative proportions of ko, so and a in the original text were examined. These proportions were approximately 32%, 57% and 11% respectively. Among these were three highly specialized groups (e. g., 82 uses of so as connector, 131 soo used in reply; and 12 ko as idiomatic expressions). After removing these special groups, the proportions of the three, major kinds of reference were 44%, 49% and 7% for situational, textual and internal references respectively. What is of particular interest is a reversal of the proportion of ko and so in situational and textual references: in situational reference ko is about 80% and in textual reference so is about 80%.
The second part of the analysis dealt with variance. When 20 native speakers restored the demonstratives which had been removed from the television scripts, a response was classified as variant when two or more native speakers departed from the script. Out of 876 items, only 30% were variant. About 40% (116 items) involved variance between ko and so. Of the remaining, the majority involved a (in fact, a occurred least frequently but when it occurred, 60% involved variance). This greater variance with respect to a apparently has to do with a s complex history and its multiple functions.
Particular attention was paid to variant items where native speakers were conspicuously divided; an attempt was made to establish general categories that explain such variances.