Reference Tracking In Children’s Story Books In Turkish
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This study investigates the reference tracking strategies used in children’s story books in Turkish and aims to find out how referring expressions – noun phrases, overt pronouns and zero pronouns – in subject position are used in Turkish written discourse and to see how the pro-drop feature of Turkish language affects these strategies. In order to achieve these goals a sample of two hundred story books which described themselves as suitable for 0 to 7 years old children are compiled. The sentences used in these books are divided into subjects and predicates. Then, the referring expressions which are the subjects of the sentences are coded as Introduction, Maintenance and Re-Introduction depending on their referential context following the local coreference approach by Hickman and Hendriks (1999). For more solid results, introduction contexts are excluded. The referring expressions used in Maintenance and Re-Introduction contexts are counted by hand and analyzed using a non-parametric test, namely the Mann-Whitney U. The findings of the study revealed that the Re-Introduction contexts contain more noun phrases (82%) than overt or zero pronouns whereas the Maintenance contexts contain more zero pronouns (82%) than overt pronouns and noun phrases. The statistical analyses show that the difference between referential contexts and referring expressions is significant. Another finding of the study is the frequent use of possessive structures. All these results suggest that the pro-drop feature of Turkish has a significant effect on the use of referring expressions used in the books analysed.