Development of Referent Management in L2 Japanese : A Film Retelling Task

YUKO NAKAHAMA
This article addresses how native speakers (NS) of Japanese and second language (L2) Japanese learners (at intermediate and advanced levels) manage the use of noun referential forms (NRF) in order to demonstrate topic continuity and discontinuity in a silent film retelling activity. Specifically, it examines voice alternations, the use of NRF in relation to their structural markedness, and the ability to distinguish discourse contexts by the use of NRF. These issues were investigated using a
more » ... sion of Chaudron and Parker's (1990) English model modified for Japanese. The result revealed that the learners developed referential topic management in the following ways. 1) The learners of higher proficiency level alternated active and passive voice to keep their focus on the main characters, just as was seen in the NS discourse. 2) The learners were largely able to differentiate NRF between discourse contexts irrespective of their proficiency levels; furthermore, the ability to do so correctly increased with proficiency. 3) More syntactically complex forms tended to be found in the discourse by the learners of higher proficiency. And lastly, 4) marking of definiteness preceded that of indefiniteness in L2 Japanese development. Limitations of the study were stated in the end in conjunction with several suggestions made for further research.
doi:10.18999/stulc.25.1.127 fatcat:fptwadgy7nfqtbs5ynarq7ilbm