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Revitalizing Endangered Languages

Edited by Justyna Olko & Julia Sallabank

Revitalizing Endangered Languages "This guidebook provides ideas and strategies, as well as some background, to help with the effective revitalization of endangered languages. It covers a broad scope of themes including effective planning, benefits, wellbeing, economic aspects, attitudes and ideologies."

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Dissertation Information

Title: The Mongsen Dialect of Ao: a language of Nagaland Add Dissertation
Author: Alexander Coupe Update Dissertation
Email: click here to access email
Institution: La Trobe University, Department of Linguistics
Completed in: 2003
Linguistic Subfield(s): Language Documentation;
Subject Language(s): Naga, Ao
Language Family(ies): Sino-Tibetan
Director(s): David Bradley

Abstract: This dissertation presents a comprehensive grammatical description of the
Mongsen dialect of Ao, a virtually undescribed Tibeto-Burman language
spoken by approximately 70,000 people in Nagaland, north-east India.
Mongsen is a tonal, highly agglutinating, mostly suffixing language with
predominantly dependent-marking characteristics. It demonstrates prolific
verbal morphology and its verbs are inflected for tense, aspect and
modality. Verb stems are additionally marked by numerous suffixes that have
grammaticalised mostly from lexical verb roots and are used to express a
range of resultative, completive and directional meanings, leading to long
sequences of agglutinative suffixes. Mongsen discourse is characterised by
extensive dependent clause chaining. Clause linkage is almost exclusively
encoded by non-finite verb forms marked by special converb suffixes that
have grammaticalised from nominalising morphology and case-marking

The thesis consists of twelve chapters and an appendix. An introduction
gives background information on the language and its speakers, dialects,
village life, geographical setting, the languageā€™s genetic classification,
its typological profile, and sets out the organisation of the grammatical
description in the following chapters. Chapter Two describes the phonology
and morphophonology of Mongsen, compares the phoneme inventories of
divergent varieties, and accounts for morphophonological processes. Chapter
Three deals with the tone system, internal and external tone sandhi, and
the use of intonation to mark phrasal and clausal boundaries.

Word classes are identified on the basis of formal criteria in Chapter
Four. A description of clause types, a typologically rare alignment of core
grammatical marking, and the syntax of causation and other valency changing
derivations is presented in Chapter Five. The constituents of the noun
phrase, relativisation and nominalisation are covered in Chapter Six.
Chapter Seven describes the nominal morphology. Chapter Eight presents an
analysis of the extensive verbal morphology. Chapter Nine describes
verbless, copula, and existential clauses, and Chapter Ten focuses on the
description of imperatives. Clause linkage and complementation are
described in Chapter Eleven, and Chapter Twelve provides a summary of the
work, identifying aspects of grammar that require further investigation. An
appendix containing three interlinearised texts completes the work.