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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 Reconstruction of Proto-Mongolian *p- Add Dissertation
Author: Karl Krippes Update Dissertation
Email: click here to access email
Institution: Indiana University Bloomington, Central Eurasian Studies
Completed in: 1992
Linguistic Subfield(s): Historical Linguistics;
Language Family(ies): Mongolian
Director(s): Paul Newman
Gyorgy Kara
Fred Householder
Gyula Décsy

Abstract: This dissertation concerns the reconstruction of proto-Mongolian vocabulary
having the initial bilabial stop *p-. It applies the comparative method to
the Mongolian family, in particular the archaic languages which preserve
reflexes of initial *p, such as /x-, h-/ in Dagur and Gansu-Qinghai
subgroup (Monguor, Baoan, Santa, and Shera Yugur). Although the
reconstructions also rely on loanwords in Tungusic languages, this fact
should not be misconstrued as an anti-Altaistic attack on previous
scholarship which classified some of these borrowings as cognates. Nor
should the omission of proto-Turkic evidence be mistaken as anti-Altaistic.

Chapter I provides an overview of the literature related to the
reconstruction of both proto-Mongolian and proto-Altaic *p-, and reflexes
in Ancient Mongolian, Middle Mongolian, and the modern h- preserving
languages of Gansu-Qinghai.

Chapter II takes into account the wealth of data published in the 1980s and
1990s by scholars in Inner Mongolia. In the process of phonemicizing the
data, several dialect divisions are illuminated. For example, Dagur has six
dialects, whereas Shera Yugur has nine. In addition, this chapter traces
the development of the Gansu-Qinghai subgroup from Middle Mongolian.
Because Dagur seems to be a separate branch of proto-Mongolian its value as
a pillar in reconstruction cannot be overemphasized.

Chapter III provides a graphemic analysis of writing systems used to
transcribe Middle Mongolia, namely ‘Phagspa, Chinese, and Korea (i.e.
Eastern Middle Mongolian), as well as Arabo-Persian (i.e. Western Middle
Mongolian). This analysis was essential because Uyghur script in the Middle
Mongolian period had no grapheme to represent h-.

Chapter IV analyzes the Ancient Mongolian linguistic fragments as attested
in both Chinese transcription (i.e. Tuoba) and Sino-form script (i.e.
Khitan). These give the clearest evidence for proto-Mongolian *p-.

Chapter V is an appendix of reconstructed proto-Mongolian vocabulary. It
includes both reflexes of pMo. *p- and prothetic h-/x-/f-, the latter being
secondary developments in Dagur and the Gansu-Qinghai subgroup. The reason
for the second set is to emphasize the greater importance of Middle
Mongolian versus the modern Mongolian languages as a pillar in
proto-Mongolian reconstruction. Whenever possible Classical Mongolian form
is cited, which is the basis of the vocalic reconstructions.

These are ranked according to their reliability. Firstly, the most reliable
are attested in Tungusic, Middle Mongolian, Dagur and the Gansu-Qinghai
subgroup. The second most reliable reconstructions are based on Middle
Mongolian, Dagur and the Gansu-Qinghai subgroup, without any Tungusic
evidence. Less reliable are reconstructions that are based only on Dagur
and the Gansu-Qinghai subgroup. Finally, the least reliable are based on
either Dagur plus the Gansu-Qinghai or only on Middle Mongolian.