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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: Cross-Dialectal Features of the Spanish Present Perfect: A typological analysis of form and function Add Dissertation
Author: Lewis Howe Update Dissertation
Email: click here to access email
Institution: Ohio State University, Department of Spanish and Portuguese
Completed in: 2006
Linguistic Subfield(s): Semantics; Sociolinguistics;
Subject Language(s): Spanish
Director(s): Javier Gutiérrez-Rexach
Scott Schwenter
Craige Roberts

Abstract: This dissertation presents a typological analysis of the Present Perfect
across dialects of Spanish, building from a set of semantic features
characteristic of perfect constructions cross-linguistically. It has been
long noted that use of the perfect in Spanish varieties spoken in Spain
differs qualitatively from its use in Latin American dialects. The
principal contributions of this thesis are (i) the description of a set of
semantic characteristics exhibited across languages with typologically
similar perfect constructions and (ii) the application of this set of
features to the categorization of perfects across dialects of Spanish.

The analysis begins with an examination of the set of features used to
characterize cross-dialectal variation in the Spanish perfect, arguing that
it exhibits many of the features of an archetypal perfect. Next, a
partition of dialect groups is proposed, establishing a division between
those varieties that favor the perfective past, or pretérito, in reference
to past events and those that prefer the perfect. Two dialects—Peninsular
and Peruvian Spanish—in which increased functional overlap between the
perfect and the pretérito has been attested are then analyzed in detail. It
is argued that Peruvian Spanish is more generally representative of the
Latin American pretérito-preferring norm, as opposed to Peninsular Spanish,
characterized as a dialect that favors the perfect. The arguments developed
in the preceding chapters are corroborated by the results of the author’s
fieldwork conducted in Madrid and Valencia, Spain and Cusco, Peru.

The analysis concludes with a proposal concerning the variable mechanisms
of semantic change responsible for the independent development of
perfective features observed in the perfect in Peninsular and Peruvian
Spanish. While grammaticalization in both cases is motivated by
discourse-related factors, the extension of the perfect in Peninsular
Spanish is triggered by the erosion of relevance implications associated
with the meaning of the perfect. In the case of the Peruvian Spanish
perfect, increased perfectivity results from a widening of the notion of
relevance. These two dialectal situations therefore represent distinct
outcomes of discourse-motivated semantic change.