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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 EPP and Null Subjects in Romance Add Dissertation
Author: Michelle Sheehan Update Dissertation
Email: click here to access email
Institution: Newcastle University, School of English Literature, Language & Linguistics (SELLL)
Completed in: 2006
Linguistic Subfield(s): Syntax;
Director(s): Ian Roberts
Anders Holmberg

Abstract: This dissertation assesses how null subjects in Romance might be accounted
for in a Minimalist framework. It is argued, contra Alexiadou and
Anagnostopoulou (1998) and Barbosa (1995), that Romance null subject
languages (NSLs) have an active EPP of the ‘merge XP’ type, and that
agreement morphology in said languages is the uninterpretable, PF
realisation of valued phi-features on I. Evidence for this claim comes from
(i) the behaviour of preverbal subjects, (ii) restrictions on possible word
orders, and (iii) evidence for the existence of null expletives/locatives.

An examination of word order possibilities in different pragmatic contexts
shows that, invariably, SVO is 'unmarked.' A slight complication comes from
Spanish, which allows VSO order in such contexts, only where another XP
surfaces preverbally. As such, it appears to be the case that spec IP is
obligatorily filled in Romance NSLs. In short, ‘free inversion’ is not the
result simply of verb movement to the I-domain, rather it is either; (i) a
form of locative inversion, (ii) expletive-associate inversion, or (ii) the
product of prosodic interface conditions.

Null referential subjects, it is proposed, are derived via deletion under
non-distinctness in the phonological component. In NSLs, the head I bears
an uninterpretable [uD] feature (Roberts 2004), and assuming that valued
formal features have the same status as PF-features for the phonological
component, the featural make-up of a pronominal subject is a subset of that
of I.

Finally, Brazilian Portuguese (BP) is discussed. While BP is not an NSL, it
does license null expletive, locative, generic and bound embedded subjects.
It is argued that the limited availability of null subjects in BP is
because: (i) spec IP need not be PF-visible, and (ii) subjects raise to a
topic position in BP, a Topic prominent language. Once again, null subjects
are the result of deletion/null spellout in the phonological component.