ABSTRACT

This paper identifies factors that influence the choice of the third person reference, from the spectrum of zero to explicit forms, in Korean spoken discourse. Tokens of third person references were collected from retellings of a silent film (“Modern Times”) and analyzed in terms of their position in the interlocutors' discursive space, that is, cognitive status, as defined by the 'Givenness Hierarchy' (Gundel, Hedberg & Zacharski, 1993). It is shown that Korean zero pronouns function identically to lexical pronouns of subject-prominent languages like English or Spanish. It is also shown that Korean indefinite determiners (e.g. etten) signal persistence of the referent while definite determiners (e.g. i, ku, ce) encode thematic importance and speaker perspective.

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