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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 Optimal Linking of Arguments Add Dissertation
Author: Anja Wanner Update Dissertation
Email: click here to access email
Institution: Universität Göttingen, Department of English Studies
Completed in: 1997
Linguistic Subfield(s): Syntax;
Director(s): Thomas Gardner
Hero Janssen

Abstract: Using as a framework the Principles&Paramter Model of generative grammar, I deal with one of the central questions for any lexicon-based 'projectional' linking theory: How can variable syntactic behaviour of verbs (within one language and across languages) be accountted for on the basis of a non-variable lexical representation? If the lexical entry determined a verb's syntactic distribution completely, we wouldn't expect intransitive verbs to occur with direct objects (frown one's disapproval) nor activity verbs to occur in telic constructions (work oneself into the committee). The syntactic potential of a verb is shown to depend on the verb's lexical semantic representation and to be activated to some extent by non-thematic arguments, which are licensed syntactically by the assignment of Case and - as an equivalent to semantic licensing by the assignment of a theta-role - aspectually by their delimiting function. In the first part English verbs are classified on three levels of representation on the basis of reliable diagnostics: semantic-aspectual structure, argument structure, and syntax. In the second part I compare several lexicon-based linking theories (Grimshaw 90, Dowty 91, Tenny 94, Levin/Rappaport Hovav 95) and sketch an new approach that makes use of thte Optimality Theory framework. In part three I apply this linking model to the close syntactic and aspectual analysis of two productive verb alternation patterns in English: the causative alternation (sb. broke the glass/the glass broke, but: sb. cut the bread/*the bread cut) and the resultative construction (run oneself tired, water the flowers flat) - and two verb classes that are generally considered 'difficult' for a projectional linking approach: verbs of movement (run, arrive), and psych verbs (fear, frighten).

(dissertation is in German)

Published as: Verbklassifizierung und aspektuelle Alternationen im Englischen. T|bingen: Niemeyer. 1999. (Linguistische Arbeiten 398)