An Analysis of Turkish Singular Pronouns Based on Accessibility Theory
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This study aims at analyzing the use of Turkish singular overt and zero pronouns based on Accessibility Theory proposed by Ariel (1988). For this aim, a sample is compiled from Turkish novels. In the excerpts from these novels, there are Turkish 1st, 2nd and 3rd singular personal overt and zero subjects and their antecedents. The total number of excerpts in the sample is 300. The relation between the antecedent and the pronouns is examined related to three Accessibility dimensions, namely recency, givenness, and syntactic prominence. Recency effect refers to the sentences between the antecedent and the pronoun. The theory asserts that when recency increases, the use of zero pronouns decreases. Givenness effect is the number of mentions to the entity referred by the pronoun. The theory argues that when givenness increases, the possibility of the use of a zero pronoun also increases. The third effect, syntactic prominence effect, is about the subjecthood of the antecedent. When the antecedent is a subject, it is expected that zero pronouns instead of overt ones are employed. The aim of this study is to test the effects of these three dimensions of Accessibility Theory on the use of Turkish singular overt and zero pronouns. In order to achieve the aim of the study, the three dimensions of the Accessibility Theory are examined on the compiled sample. The use of overt and zero Turkish singular pronouns, ben (I), sen (you) and o (he/she/it), are analyzed separately and together in regard to the effects of recency, givenness, and syntactic prominence. The findings of the study do not completely support the assumptions of the Accessibility Theory. In another words, it is possible to state that Turkish overt and zero pronouns cannot be fully explained with these three dimensions. On the other hand, the findings also reveal that givenness factor has an effect for overt and null 1st person singular pronouns and that syntactic prominence is operative for overt and null 3rd person singular pronouns.