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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 Notion of Linguistic Choices in Written Text Production Add Dissertation
Author: Marianna Christou Update Dissertation
Email: click here to access email
Institution: National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Department of Linguistics
Completed in: 2007
Linguistic Subfield(s): Discourse Analysis; Text/Corpus Linguistics;
Subject Language(s): Greek, Modern
Director(s): George Babiniotis
Christophoros Charalambakis
Aikaterini Bakakou-Orfanou

Abstract: This thesis aims at making a contribution to the fields of Discourse
Analysis, Text Linguistics, and Corpus Linguistics, from which it draws.
More precisely, it explores linguistic choices activated by native speakers
of Modern Greek in written text production, and suggests a clarification of
three terms:

a) available possibilities of expression, offered by the linguistic system
of Modern Greek itself due to the inherent anisomorphism between content
and form, are characterised by variety and are called options; their valeur
(in Saussurian terms) can be detected at the level of paradigmatic and
syntagmatic relations,

b) potential wordings for linguistic performance of this system are
characterised by variation and are called selections; they can be mainly
detected at the paradigmatic axis and lead a native speaker to the
procedure of preferring only one selection among others, and

c) the results of this selection procedure in written text are called
choices, which can be detected at the syntagmatic axis of parole,
reflecting the personal style of each author; hence, they are characterised
by uniqueness for the occasion on which the are used.

What motivated this study was the need for a thorough and systematic
description, analysis and interpretation of creativity in writing texts
through variation in language. As many alternative possibilities of
linguistic expression are offered, it is shown that they do not have the
same function nor do they always lead to the same communicative effect.

To this end, qualitative and quantitative approaches were combined. Sources
of data were: a) two corpora –one in written and one in electronic form–
from which texts and examples were drawn for linguistic and textual
analysis and b) questionnaires completed by informants.

As revealed by textual analysis combined with informants’ opinions, the
in-depth investigation of linguistic choices can significantly contribute
to the detection (or even reconstruction) of the author’s intentions, as
these are developed in the course of written text production. Apart from
this, it is suggested that the kind, function and use of linguistic choices
in communication can be clarified through close scrutiny at all levels of
microstructure and macrostructure. It also becomes explicit that an author
decides –more or less consciously– to activate linguistic choices that
serve his or her aims and objectives in text production. Use of different
linguistic choices on the part of the author can change the content of the
message and can subsequently modify the communicative effect of discourse.

Moving from microstructure (i.e. phonetic and phonological, morphological,
lexical, syntactic, and semantic level) to macrostructure (level of
vocabulary, phrase, utterance, paragraph, and text) this differentiation is
so strong that it is impossible for two texts to share exactly the same
choices. Every linguistic choice is closely connected with the author’s
decisions and preferences in written text production, and is affected by
linguistic and textual factors. The communicative situation and its
participants, genre and text type, register, intertextuality, iconicity,
informativity, cohesion and coherence, reference and deixis of the text,
hypotheses, expectations and predictions of the reader, general strategy
and individual tactics that the author employs in order to structure his or
her message, as well as the perspective of information, these are some of
the factors that can influence text production.