Bu çalışmada Belirtsellik Kuramı açısından edebi yazın türünün örneklerinden biri olan kısa öykülerdeki sözcük seçimleri incelenmiştir. Bu kurama göre dilin kullanımında bazı ses, yapı, sözcük ve kullanımlar daha temel ve doğal olarak algılanıp daha sık kullanılırken bu yapılara paralellik içeren diğerleri daha kısıtlı kullanıma sahiptir ve bilinçli bir seçim sonucunda tümcelerde kullanılırlar. Bu noktadan hareketle, bir edebiyat türü olan kısa öykülerde kullanılan sıfatların seçiminde kuramın ne kadar katkısı olduğu belirlenmeye çalışılmıştır. Seçilen sıfatların çoğunlukla belirtili mi yoksa belirtisiz mi olduğu araştırılmıştır. Çalışmada kullanılan veri otuz beş ünlü Türk öykü yazarından alınan kısa öykülerden oluşturulan bir küçük ölçekli derlemden elde edilmiştir. Ant.Conc 3.4.4 bilgisayar programı kullanılarak veri çözümlemesinde kullanılacak sıfat çiftleri için bağlamlı dizinler oluşturulmuştur. Arama sözcüğü olarak kullanılan sıfatın her iki yanında birkaç sözcükle bağlam içinde sıfatların kullanımını gösteren bağlamlı dizinler önce bilgisayar ortamında, daha sonra elle çözümlenmiştir. Böylece, belirtili sıfatların mı yoksa belirtisiz olanların mı daha sık kullanıldığı tespit edilmeye çalışılmıştır. Ayrıca, geçtikleri bağlamda birlikte dizimlendikleri sözcükler ve anlamsal işlevleri gözden geçirilmiştir. Sonuçlar belirtisiz olan sıfatların belirtiliden daha sık kullanıldığını, anlamsal olarak da genişletilmiş anlama daha çok gönderme yapıldığını göstermiştir. Bu bulgular ışığında, bu makalede Belirtsellik Kuramının dil öğretimine katkısı ve bu kuramdan etkin bir şekilde nasıl yararlanılacağı tartışılmaktadır


In this study, word selections in short stories, which are one of the examples of literary writing, have been examined in terms of the Markedness Theory. According to this theory, while some sounds, structures, words and uses are perceived as more basic and natural and employed more frequently, others which involve parallelism to these items have restricted uses and are included in sentences as a result of conscious selection. From this point of view, it has been tried to determine the contribution of the Markedness Theory to the selection of adjectives used in short stories as a literary genre. It has been researched whether the selected adjectives are mostly marked or unmarked ones. The data used in the study came from a small scale corpus created from short stories taken from thirty five famous Turkish story writers. Concordances were created for adjective pairs to be used in data analysis using Ant.Conc 3.4.4 computer program. The concordances presenting the use of adjectives in several word contexts on both sides of the adjective, which was entered as the search word, were first analysed by using computer, then manual analyses were carried out. Thus, an attempt was made to find out whether marked or unmarked adjectives were commonly used. In addition, the words they collocate in the context they occur and their semantic functions were examined. The results showed that the unmarked adjectives were used more frequently than the marked ones, and semantically the extended meaning was more commonly referred to. In view of these findings, in this article the contribution of the Markedness Theory to the teaching of language and how to utilize it effectively are discussed The literary language, which is among the important forms of written language, differs from many other areas in terms of the use of unusual structures, lexical choices and discourse features. Lexical items, especially content words such as noun, verb, adjective, adverb have a prominent place in the production of new, unexpected forms. Authors do not make random word selections but use certain striking items rather than usual forms to create an effective language in their works. Taking this point into account, this study examined the use of adjectives in Turkish short stories. The theoretical framework used in the study was based on the Markedness Theory which expresses the view that some sounds, structures, words, etc. are basic, simple, natural, and hence they are used more frequently than others (Andersen, 2001: 21). This case is explained with the example of asking the height of a building. It is usually asked with the adjective ‘high’ in the way "How high is this building?" rather than “How low is this building?” unless a special reason exists for the production of the latter form. The reason behind this choice lies on the distinction between marked and unmarked adjectives. The adjective 'high' used in the first question is called unmarked adjective by the theory, while the adjective 'low' in the second question is considered marked (Graddol, Cheshire and Swann, 1994: 113, Yan-qiu & Feng-juan, 2015: 669). When the second question is asked, a conscious choice is made by the speaker to point out that something is wrong with the building. Markedness has been an interest area in linguistic studies ranging from phonology, semantics, grammar to discourse analysis. In fact, markedness was first identified by structural phoneticians Nikolay S. Trubetzkoy and Roman Jakobson of the Prague School in the 1930s. These linguists mentioned that the two sounds do not have the same value, stating that they are separated from each other by the phonetic properties, in other words, the [p] and [b] voices are distinguished from each other as regards features called voiceless vs. voiced. Similarly, in the classification of grammatical structures singular vs. plural nouns, active vs. passive sentences, the first items are considered unmarked, and the second ones as marked (Waugh and Lafford, 2006: 491-492). In markedness, semantic features of words were also investigated and a word in antonyms has been identified as marked and the other as unmarked. In the word pair happy and unhappy, for example, the first item is unmarked, but the second is the marked; since it takes a prefix, in its use a conscious choice is made (Graddol, Cheshire and Swann, 1994: 113). Furthermore, the criteria used in the identification unmarked items are language specific and change from one language to another. For example, while singular use in English is more frequent and more contextual, in Korean it is not the same, and in Hungarian if there is a number in front of the noun, the word is used singularly (Waugh and Lafford, 2006). Methods In view of these explanations concerning markedness, this study made an attempt to find out which adjectives, marked or unmarked ones, are used more than others in literary works, especially in short stories. The rationale behind the selection of short stories as a literary genre was that short stories are written with carefully selected words to convey messages to the reader in a precise form and also stories written by different writers could be analysed in such a genre. Apart from the distribution of marked and unmarked adjectives, the collocational context of the adjectives was also looked at to figure out whether there were unusual uses for the target adjectives. A corpus was created from short stories taken from thirty five famous Turkish short story writers. The size of the corpus was around 18.000 words. To generate the word lists for all the words occurring in the corpus and the concordances for the search words investigated in the study, AntConc 3.4.4, the free concordancing program, was used. First of all, the word lists were produced to identify the common adjectives occurring in the stories. As the size of the corpus was small, six adjective pairs which occur eight or more than eight times were chosen from the list. They were big-small, old-new, old-young, thin-thick, soft-hard, and hot-cold. The first item in each pair was the unmarked adjective whereas the other was marked one. Their markedness values were determined by giving a simple task to 40 Turkish students attending the Department of Chemistry. Subsequent to the identification of the adjectives that would be examined, concordances showing the search word in the middle with some context on each side were generated for the adjective pairs. The concordance lines showing the target words in different word categories such as noun, adverb were omitted from the data set and then the analyses were carried out to find out the number of occurrences for the adjective pairs and the semantic context in which they occur. Results The results obtained from the data analysis revealed that unmarked adjectives were commonly used in short stories rather than the marked ones. The short story writers whose stories were taken to the corpus produced the simple, common, frequent items in their stories. There were writer specific or story specific uses; however, usually the unmarked adjectives were selected by most of the writers instead of the marked items. As to the words they collocate, it was found that they cooccurred with both concrete and abstract nouns, and when they were together with abstract nouns, they referred to their extended senses, that is their metaphorical senses. As examples, the word combinations new hope, new victory, new school, etc., do not indicate something not existing before or made recently, but they were making reference to the word’s extended senses. There were unusual combinations produced by some writers, as well. For example, a writer produced the word combination ‘elderly minutes’ (ihtiyar dakikalar) in such a sentence Haydarpaşa Train Station's elderly minutes were working properly (‘Tıkır tıkır çalışıyor Haydarpaşa Garı’nın ihtiyar dakikaları’ in Sibel Erarslan’s ‘Açık Artırma’). The old clock in the station is personified in this use to create an artistic image in the mind of the reader. In conclusion, the results of the study showed that the concordance lines generated from literary works can be effectively used to investigate the differences between word pairs as regards markedness. Thus, native speakers as well as nonnative speakers learning Turkish as a foreign language can be exposed to genre specific information.


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Ellis, R., 1997, Second Language Acquisition, Oxford:Oxford University Press.

Graddol, D., Cheshire, J. & Swann, J. 1994. Describing Language. Buckingham-Philadelphia: Open University Press.

Mehrdad, A. G. & Ahgbar, M. R. 2015. Markedness and Syllabus Design in SLA. Procedia Social and Behavioral Sciences. 177, 104-108.

Waugh, L. R & Lafford, B. A., 2006, Markedness, Encylopedia of English Language and Linguistics, pp. 491-498, Elsevier Ltd.

Yan-qiu, Z. & Feng-juan, T. 2015. Study on Markedness in Linguistics. Sino-US English Teaching, Vol.12, No.9, 667-67, doi:10.17265/1539-8072/2015.09.004

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