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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: Tense and Aspect in English and Portuguese: A contrastive semantical study Add Dissertation
Author: Diana Santos Update Dissertation
Email: click here to access email
Institution: Technical University of Lisbon, Engenharia Informatica e de Computadores
Completed in: 1996
Linguistic Subfield(s): Semantics;
Subject Language(s): English
Director(s): Lauri Carlson
Amilcar Sernadas

Abstract: This dissertation is on tense and aspect and on translation, and was inspired by the desire to make their analysis computationally possible. It can be read from two complementary perspectives:

On the one hand, it concerns the investigation of the tense and aspect systems of Portuguese and English by means of real translations, taken as objective semantic data. On the other hand, it investigates translation between English and Portuguese through a detailed analysis of their respective tense and aspect systems.

The text is organized in three parts:

The first provides critical background for the three main subjects addressed in the thesis, the comparison/contrast of languages, the analysis of real translations, and the study of tense and aspect semantics. The main claims of this part are that (i) studies based on real translations are the only sound method for contrastive analysis, albeit (ii) languages are so different that they do not say the same things even when they are supposed to (as is the case of translation); (iii) tense and aspect semantics requires finer discriminations than those usually found in the formal literature.

The second part uses the ideas discussed in the first part to propose (i)a descriptive model for tense and aspect systems, (ii) and for their translation -- the Translation Network; (iii) a description of the English and Portuguese systems, respectively; and (iv) a significant number of contrasts between them, based on real translation pairs. Finally, it presents some steps towards a formal model of what was accomplished. As far as I know, this part presents the first systematic description of a significant portion of Portuguese tense and aspect grammar, as well as of its contrast regarding English.

Finally, the third part describes a set of empirical studies performed on aligned texts in English and Portuguese, through which the intuitions and knowledge presented in the first two parts of the thesis were obtained. The presentation of these studies constitutes the empirical justification for the claims put forward previously, while at the same time providing the reader with a basis for alternative analyses of the data.