Measures of topic continuity and the wa-topic in Japanese

Authors

  • Andrej Bekeš

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.4312/linguistica.40.2.341-352

Keywords:

topic, topic continuity, Topic Quotient, Referential Distance, Topic Persistence, coreference

Abstract

In this paper I examine three statistical measures of topic continuity, i.e., Topic Quotient (TQ), Referential Distance (RD) and Topic Persistence (TP), using the text of a short novel, Rashomon by Ryunosuke Akutagawa. It turns out that these measures are very unreliable as predictors of the WAtopic in Japanese. Even worse, in the case of TP, and for different referents, contradictory results were obtained. At closer inspection it turns out that this is due to the differences in status which referents possess within some segment of a text. What matters is not the numerical frequency of a referent, but its status, i.e., whether it referrs to a topic entity, or, from the expression point of view, to a topic chain of referential forms within the text, or not.

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Published

01.12.2000

How to Cite

Bekeš, A. (2000). Measures of topic continuity and the wa-topic in Japanese. Linguistica, 40(2), 341–352. https://doi.org/10.4312/linguistica.40.2.341-352

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Section

Articles