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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: Long-Distance Reflexives in Norwegian Add Dissertation
Author: Tania E. Strahan Update Dissertation
Email: click here to access email
Institution: University of Melbourne, Department of Linguistics and Applied Linguistics
Completed in: 2002
Linguistic Subfield(s): Pragmatics; Semantics; Syntax;
Subject Language(s): Norwegian Nynorsk
Director(s): Lesley Stirling
Nicholas Evans

Abstract: Despite the work of linguists such as Thrainsson, SigurĂ°sson, Pollard, Sag, Popowich and Kuno, among others, the analysis and explanation of long-distance reflexives (LDRs) continues to be carried out primarily in the field of syntax. A major goal of this thesis is to show that, in Norwegian, both reflexives with local antecedents and reflexives with non-local antecedents obey the same general constraints. These constraints are based upon a confluence of factors including the semantic features of reflexives as opposed to pronouns, syntactic features such as clause structure, prosodic features such as intonation, discourse features such as perspective and pragmatic information such as conversational implicature.

A review of the literature on long-distance reflexives reveals several problems with syntactic approaches, the greatest problem being that they are based upon typological tendencies. Because of this, there are exceptions to nearly every analysis. The notions of finite tense, perspective, factivity and logophoricity are relevant to the description and generation of long-distance reflexives in Norwegian, but not exhaustively so.

A major contribution of this thesis to the body of literature available on long-distance reflexives is the presentation of new data. Grammaticality judgements were collected from 180 native speakers of Norwegian on sentence frames which are often used as the basis for arguments in the LDR literature. In addition, 27 speakers completed an oral elicitation exercise, where 6 speakers used LDR. Despite the fact that people disagree on the level of acceptability an LDR construction has, this disagreement is regular, and describable in terms of the Extended Reference Point Proposal, which incorporates information derived from semantics, syntax, prosody, discourse and pragmatics.