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The present research aims to address the insufficiency of previous research on the language typology of prop-drop parameter, in which considerable efforts have been devoted to different anaphoric mechanisms for given information provided in discourse context: viz. Chinese uses zero anaphor, whereas English uses pronominal anaphor. However, although Chinese is a prop-drop language and does often use zero anaphor for second mention, it also appears to opt for pronominal anaphora in certain discourse contexts and situations. But as to the exact underlying factors which motivate such uses, further research is yet to be seen. The present study, therefore, aims to explore those possible factors which account for the dispensation of zero anaphor in Chinese. It is maintained in this study that the dispensation of zero anaphor and use of pronominal anaphor in Chinese discourse has to do with the processing cost in language communication, and can be interpreted in terms of the Relevance Theory: Using pronominal anaphor, which is against the tendency to use zero anaphor in a prop-drop language such as Chinese, is mainly to signal to the reader/hearer the incoming transition of an event. Thus, pronominal anaphor can be seen as an event marker to introduce different type of new information into the discourse. Based on three Chinese corpus data, the present research identifies six types of situations that mark the transition of a new event.
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