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LINGUIST List 23.2904

Mon Jul 02 2012

Diss: Disc Analysis/Pragmatics/Socioling/Writing Systems: Watanabe: 'Character Introduction and Establishment in Japanese Narratives'

Editor for this issue: Lili Xia <lxialinguistlist.org>

Date: 02-Jul-2012
From: Noriko Watanabe <norikomcggmail.com>
Subject: Character Introduction and Establishment in Japanese Narratives
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Institution: University at Buffalo
Program: Department of Linguistics
Dissertation Status: Completed
Degree Date: 1998

Author: Noriko Watanabe

Dissertation Title: Character Introduction and Establishment in Japanese Narratives

Linguistic Field(s): Discourse Analysis
                            Pragmatics
                            Sociolinguistics
                            Writing Systems

Subject Language(s): English (eng)
                            Japanese (jpn)

Dissertation Director:
Dennis Tedlock
Madelaine Mathiot
David A. Zubi

Dissertation Abstract:

The present thesis investigates linguistic patterns that serve the
functional goals of introducing and establishing characters in Japanese
narrative. It also discusses the pragmatic processes that are involved
in the interpretation of the linguistic forms as character introductions
and establishments. Examples are drawn from a spoken genre,
rakugo, as well as from several written narrative genres. Linguistic
patterns identified in this study show that both in spoken and written
narrative there are several forms that serve the functional goals of
character introduction and establishment. The linguistic patterns are
found in two different discourse types, i.e., narration and direct
discourse of characters. Previous linguistic studies of character
establishment, or participant tracking, paid attention mostly to only one
type of discourse, i.e., narration. The present study documents that
direct discourse also carries a significant functional load in fulfilling the
major functions in narrative, especially in spoken narrative. The wide
range of linguistic patterns thus found are then analyzed according to
two different modes of presentation, which are termed the descriptive
mode and the dramatistic modes.

This thesis uncovered new patterns, including the ga-cleft construction,
use of wa-marked nominals in the first mention, use of address terms
and the first part of adjacency pair. Linguistic patterns of character
establishment show that the referential progression pattern discussed
in Hinds & Hinds (1979) is rare both in well-rehearsed spoken
storytelling and in written stories. Characters can be established
through direct discourse without any narration, especially in the genre
of rakugo.

This dissertation examines the concept of introduction further by
analyzing the role of pre-narrative discourse in contexualization of
narrative. Rakugo storytelling performances shed light on the
importance of overall framing of a story in character introduction. The
prelude to rakugo storytelling performance, i.e., makura, functions to
make a transition into a displaced spatio-temporal deictic center of a
story. Makura is compared to prefacing in casual conversational
narrative in Japanese, and also it is cross-linguistically compared to
pre-narrative framing in storytelling practices in other cultures.




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