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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 Interaction of Modality, Aspect and Negation in Persian Add Dissertation
Author: Azita H. Taleghani Update Dissertation
Email: click here to access email
Institution: University of Arizona, Department of Linguistics
Completed in: 2006
Linguistic Subfield(s): Morphology; Semantics; Syntax;
Subject Language(s): Persian, Iranian
Director(s): Heidi Harley
Andrew Barss
D. Terence Langendoen

Abstract: This dissertation investigates the verbal system of Persian and is focused
on the interaction of modality, tense, aspect and negation in this
language. The dissertation challenges the idea that the syntactic structure
maps on the semantic interpretation or vice-versa. The discussion of the
syntactic structure of Persian modals shows that there is no one-to-one
correspondence between the structural positions and semantic
interpretations of modals in Persian except in the auxiliary modal bâyad
'must'. Furthermore, it is argued that modals are raising constructions in
different languages (Wurmbrand 2001, 1999) while modals in Persian, which
does not have subject-raising constructions, show different behavior.
Persian root complex modals are generally syntactic control in Wurmbrand’s
(1998, 2001) proposal, except in a few cases of dynamic root modals.
However, all epistemic modals are instances of pseudo-raising
constructions. Pseudo-raising constructions behave like raising structures
thematically but not in terms of agreement. This means that the subject of
the matrix clause originates from the lower clause but there is no
agreement between the subject of the matrix clause and the modal.

The second contribution of this dissertation is that the class of
restructuring verbs varies across languages. German semantic control verbs
are instances of lexical restructuring constructions (Wurmbrand 2001) while
the only case of restructuring in Persian is the functional restructuring
(Cinque 2001, 2006) which appears in auxiliary modals such as bâyad 'must'
and šâyad 'may' since they are mono-clausal and do not have a CP.

This dissertation also investigates the structure of complex verbal forms
in Persian. Persian complex verbal forms are classified into three main
groups: 1) Complex Predicates (CPrs), 2) Verbal Complex Predicates (VCPrs),
and 3) Bi-clausal Predicates (BCPrs). After highlighting the
morpho-syntactic properties of each group, it is argued that Persian future
tense is an instance of a Serial Verb Construction (Butt 1995, Sabba 1987).
However, progressives which are bi-clausal constructions are Aspectual
Complex predicates.

In the case of the structural analysis of the interaction of Persian modals
and negation, this dissertation shows that the syntactic structure maps on
the semantic interpretation or vice-versa. There are just a few gaps with
respect to the scope possibilities of particular modals.

The final contribution of this dissertation is related to the problem of
the word order of non verbal elements (NV) and light verbs (LV) within
Persian complex predicates. This research provides three suggestions
regarding the CP argument position in complex predicates, and suggests that
the vP remnant movement is the most reasonable one, since it is compatible
with the recent trends of syntactic theories (Chomsky 2001, 2004, 2005) and
suggested for some other languages like Hindi (Mahajan 2003).