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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: Communicative Grammar of the Basque Verb (Selected Aspects) Add Dissertation
Author: Alan King Update Dissertation
Institution: Queen Mary, University of London, Department of Linguistics
Completed in: 1993
Linguistic Subfield(s): Syntax; Typology;
Subject Language(s): Basque
Director(s): Jamal Ouhalla
Donald Rayfield

Abstract: The thesis aims, first, to establish the general nature and theoretical basis of communicative grammar, and secondly, to describe aspects of the grammar of the Basque verb so as to illustrate, as regards both breadth and unity of treatment, the range of issues and approaches that communicative grammars aim to encompass.

Communicative grammar is an endeavour to develop language descriptions that account for as many aspects of communicative competence as are compatible with generic criteria such as the possibility of systematic, comprehensive description, language-specific relevance and cross-linguistic comparability, usefulness, and coherence. Since syntax is a component of communicative competence, the description thereof enters into communicative grammar, which however is wider in scope and admits an eclectic theoretical infrastructure.

The verb in general, and in Basque in particular, is chosen as the uniting theme through which the thesis will exemplify various descriptive approaches. Some typically verb-related concepts are process, transitivity, predication, information structure, process perspective (i.e. tense, aspect, mood and modality), and illocutionary and attitudinal functions. For reasons of space the thesis will concentrate on some of the aforementioned concepts.

The study begins with a non-language-specific discussion of some relevant theories (Ch. 1) and operative concepts (Ch. 3). Theoretically, particular attention is given to the relation between inferential and conventional utterance interpretation processes. At the operative level, concepts of process perspective, illocutionary function and politeness strategy are examined. There is also a review of existing communicative grammars and related precedents (Ch. 2). Detailed accounts follow of form and use patterns of Basque synthetic (Ch. 4) and periphrastic (Ch. 5) conjugation systems, Basque expressions of modality (Ch. 6), and conventional illocutionary formulae, in conjunction with attitudinal variables (Ch. 7).

As behooves a communicatively-oriented grammatical study, intralinguistic variation--especially stylistic--is frequently referred to, while the main variety described in the thesis is present-day colloquial Gipuzkoan.