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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 Syntax-Pragmatics Interface of Bangla Add Dissertation
Author: Sanjukta Ghosh Update Dissertation
Email: click here to access email
Institution: University of Hyderabad, Centre for Applied Linguistics and Translation Studies
Completed in: 2002
Linguistic Subfield(s): Pragmatics; Syntax;
Subject Language(s): Bengali
Language Family(ies): Indo-European
Director(s): Probal Dasgupta

Abstract: The goal of this dissertation is to develop a programmatic tool called individuation which roughly works as a theory of prominence in language. To make the idea of individuation more concrete, I use it as a linguistic feature in the present implementation of the programme.

The linguistic elements which are more individuated contains more information than others (paradigmatically) and are more prominent than their syntagmatic neighbours. There are some tools in a language which are used by the speakers to make any linguistic element more individuated, therefore, more prominent. Emphasizers, demonstratives and classifiers are some of them.

The theoretical approach taken in this dissertation follows Nicolas Ruwet and his hermeneutic way of studying linguistics. This approach not only considers the grammatical aspect of a linguistic study but also accounts for the psychological aspects of a communication, a speaker, and a hearer, as these appear in a linguist's consciousness. I relate Ruwet's work with Indian study of meaning and philosophy of language, viz., with Bhartrhari's sphota theory.

Meaning is understood from the words on the basis of their manifestation as objects of the sense of hearing. Based on this idea of Bhartrhari, the present work places the hearer in a very important position in a linguistic theory. Therefore, the grammatical properties of what is said are not determined from something present in the formal object but in the generosity of a patient listener who takes on board the linguistic as well as social context of an act of speaking.

A generous listener decides which constituent of a sentence will become input for an acceptance-interpretation process in a larger context. This move of shifting the focus to a hearer makes the language free from the (structuralist) clutches of society. Bhartrhari's 'whole over part' view of language which is supported in this work is opposite to the traditional structuralist as well as recent Minimalist position. In both these theories, the smaller constituents are accepted for interpretation as soon they are formed and a total view of the larger construction is thus obstructed. Cognition is based in those accounts on parts of a construction. I have shown in the chapter 4 of this dissertation that actual cognition does not happen by parts. One of the main aims of this dissertation is to work towards a more explanatory account of cognition.

Chapter 1 introduces the work.

Chapter 2 is the first empirical chapter based on the data from Bangla DP

Chapter 4 is the other major empirical chapter based on the analysis of data from Bangla imperfective, perfective and conditional participles. Blocking has taken a central place in writing this chapter. Observations in at least three parts of this chapter exemplify blocking among various non-finite participles.

Between these two empirical chapters, the third chapter clarifies my actual standpoint from which the work has been done. The main theme of the dissertation is to establish speakers' freedom to assign meaning to an utterance in a conversation.

Chapter 5 discusses some of the residual issues left by the other chapters and the future directions of the work.