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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: Context in Text: A systemic functional analysis of the Parable of the Sower Add Dissertation
Author: Philip Graber Update Dissertation
Email: click here to access email
Institution: Emory University, Program in Linguistics
Completed in: 2001
Linguistic Subfield(s): Text/Corpus Linguistics;
Director(s): Hendrikus Boers
Michael Gregory

Abstract: The relationship between text and context is a fundamental issue in the interpretation of the text of Matthew. The contention of this study is that certain limited aspects of context are embedded in texts. Systemic functional grammar (SFG) is a linguistic theory oriented toward describing how language functions in context. This study applies SFG to the Parable of the Sower, the explanation for Jesus' speaking in parables and the interpretation of the parable in Matthew 13:1-23 in order to clarify how language functions in these texts and how the texts predict limited but important aspects of their own context as a contribution to a better understanding of them. Analysis of the synoptic parallels in Mark and Luke is included to test how differences in context is reflected in differences between parallel texts. SFG makes explicit the relationships between three linguistically relevant variables of context of situation - field, tenor and mode - and the semantic functions that realize them - experiential, interpersonal, and textual meanings. These kinds of meanings are in turn realized by grammatical structures that are mapped onto one another in linear text. The analysis of the portion of Matthew's narrative points to context in which the evangelist addresses readers to convey the story of Jesus' words and deeds with authority, from a social position of higher status relative to those being addressed and a relatively low degree of social contact. The language of the text plays a constituting role in the social activity in which the evangelist is engaged, rather than an accompanying role relative to a social activity, with a degree of formality corresponding to the authoritative status of the writer. The social activity in the instantial situation is an explanation in which the evangelist, through Jesus' own authoritative words, accounts for differences in the ways in which two groups of people respond to him. Those who understand (who are also being addressed) do so by the enabling actions of God and those who fail to understand fail because of their own self-disabling actions.