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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-Information Structure Interface: A comparative view from Romanian Add Dissertation
Author: Gabriela Soare Update Dissertation
Email: click here to access email
Institution: University of Geneva, Certificate of Specialization in Linguistics
Completed in: 2009
Linguistic Subfield(s): Syntax;
Subject Language(s): Japanese
Director(s): Ur Shlonsky
Guglielmo Cinque
Luigi Rizzi
Yoshio Endo
Alexandra Cornilescu

Abstract: This dissertation explores a number of issues involving the clausal
structure of Romanian, in particular the structure of the Romanian IP
field, and the left periphery, on a comparative basis with other Romance
languages. Regarding this latter issue the dissertation insists on multiple
wh-fronting in Romanian proposing an analysis in line with current
Minimalist guidelines. Considering that Romanian is situated at one end of
the wh-continuum, this dissertation also studies the behaviour of
wh-phrases in a language situated at the other end, i.e. a 'scrambling'
language, Japanese.

The discussion is framed within the idea that syntax may directly access
features related to Information Structure (IS) that may be 'floating' on
distinct DP-related projections inside the IP-field, or the Mittelfeld, or
project themselves inside the CP area (i.e. Rizzi 1997, 2001, 2004).
Besides case and phi-features, the Numeration is assumed to contain
features pertaining to Information Structure, such as Topic and Focus, both
of distinct types, which are realized on Subj(ect)- and Obj(ect)-related
projections in the Mittelfeld. It is argued that EPP is intimately
connected to an IS-feature. The discussion unveils the micro-parameters
related to subject, object and verb movement possibilities which
distinguish Romanian from Spanish and Italian.

In the overview of the structure of the Romanian left periphery, the
special case of the Left-Dislocated Contrastive Focus is analyzed in terms
of the minimal c-commanding head-head criterial configuration, which
accounts for the contrastive Focus interpretation and the obligatory
presence of a clitic. Considering multiple wh's, it is argued that their
order in the left periphery reflects the order prior to wh-movement and
that this Mittelfeld-internal order is also obtained with their non-wh
counterparts. Multiple Agree (Hiraiwa 2000), remnant movement and (heavy)
pied-piping of a wh-chunk, made up of wh-phrases only, accounts for
multiple wh-movement in Romanian.

Situated at the other end of the wh-continuum, Japanese is analyzed along
the lines of Kayne's (1994) antisymmetry hypothesis. It is shown that the
Mittelfeld also contains Topic and Focus features parasitic on phi/Case
features. The hypethesis that both subject and object leave the vP receives
support from the test with different adverb classes in Cinque's (1999)
hierarchy. It is argued that A-scrambling of a wh-phrase over another
systematically induces a D-linked reading. It is further shown that overt
long-distance wh-'scrambling' is a case of topicalisation to the left

The dissertation also proposes a typology of question formation based on
the abstract morphological split between the Q-feature on Force and the
wh-feature on Focus along the lines of the antisymmetry and the
cartography. The typology relies on several parameters having to do with
the overt vs. covert realization of either feature, the possibility of
either feature to be associated with an EPP and the mechanism of Multiple
Agree involved in cases of multiple wh. These combinatorial possibilities
can account for the existence of wh-movement in languages like Vata and
Tlingit (which overtly realize one feature), on the one hand, and French
and Romanian (no overt realization), on the other, and its absence in
Japanese, Sinhala, Chinese, Tumbuka and French (on the in-situ strategy).