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Discourse Functions of Zero Pronouns in Tai Dam

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The aim of this study is to explore the zero pronouns in Tai Dam on the basis of a discourse approach using Systemic Functional Grammar (SFG). The objectives of this paper are as follows: (1) to explore the syntactic distribution of zero pronouns in Tai Dam, and (2) to analyze the discourse function of zero pronouns in the narrative discourses of Tai Dam. The research data used in this paper were collected from the texts of Tai Dam folktales of the people living in Petchaburi Province in central Thailand. Five folktales were analyzed for the study. The findings reveal that zero pronouns in Tai Dam can function in different ways. It has been found that zero pronouns can occur in both Theme and Rheme positions. In thematic positions, they function as unmarked topical themes. This study shows the different discourse functions of zero pronouns in terms of co-references. It has been found that there are two types of co-reference of zero pronouns in Tai dam as follows: (1) zero anaphora and (2) zero cataphora. The main discourse function of zero pronouns is to signal an active referent in narrative discourse.
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Keywords: Discourse Functions; Narrative Discourse; Tai Dam; Zero Pronouns

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Research Institute for Languages and Cultures of Asia, Mahidol University, Salaya, Nakon Pathom 73170, Thailand

Publication date: April 1, 2017

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