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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: Using Metafunctions in a Stylistic Analysis of Point of View in an Afro-American Short Story Add Dissertation
Author: Bonifacio Cunanan Update Dissertation
Email: click here to access email
Institution: Philippine Normal University, Ph.D. Program in Linguistics
Completed in: 2001
Linguistic Subfield(s): Ling & Literature;
Subject Language(s): English
Director(s): Venancio Mendiola
Carmen Cruz

Abstract: This dissertation is an attempt to bridge the gap between theory and practice in linguistics and literature.

Within a computational framework, this stylistic analysis uses mathematical modeling and non-parametric statistics to test the relativity between language and culture by providing a formal analysis of point of view as regards some crucial elements in contemporary literary criticism. These elements are class struggle, ethnicity, and gender sensitivity.

With Alice Walker’s Everyday Use as its main text, this dissertation uses the three metafunctions of M.A.K. Halliday’s systemic functional linguistics (SFL) in analyzing and articulating an Afro-American discourse on negritude. These metafunctions are textual, relational, and ideational. Because SFL views language as a complex system of signification, this work takes into account the relevance of literature in understanding the self-image, the psyche, and the collective consciousness of a community, with the Afro-Americans in the rural south of the United States in particular.

For linguistic analysis, this work takes the clause as the basic unit. First, with clause as message, it takes into consideration two major components, the Theme and the Rheme. This part of the study helps establish what appears to be prominent and foregrounded in the text. Second, with clause taken as exchange, it is examines the properties of verbal structures or processes according to their finiteness, modality, and polarity. Lastly, with clause as representation, the verbal processes are categorized as material, behavioral, mental, verbal, relational, and existential. Nominal structures like participants and circumstances are also classified and grouped based on their case assignments or theta roles. Further, the participants and circumstances are categorized according to their ergative and transitive equivalence. The said linguistic elements have been quantified and classified to satisfy the need for statistical analysis by using the methods and procedures in non-parametric statistics like Fisher’s exact test.

As an interface between linguistic analysis and literary criticism, this dissertation provides for an approach towards information filtering and unbiased interpretations of the narrative stance or angle of narration in fiction.

More over, this dissertation contributes to a better understanding of Alice Walker’s concept of Black feminism or womanism.