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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: Multi-Verb Constructions in Edo Add Dissertation
Author: Ota Ogie Update Dissertation
Email: click here to access email
Institution: Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Department of Linguistics
Completed in: 2009
Linguistic Subfield(s): Linguistic Theories; Semantics; Syntax; Typology;
Subject Language(s): Edo
Director(s): Lars Hellan

Abstract: Multi-verb constructions provide useful insight into the question of how
languages distinguish between adjunction and complementation. The
term 'multi-verb constructions' is defined as consisting of verbs in
series that can function as independent verbs in simple sentences, with
at least one shared argument and no marking of syntactic dependency
(cf. Ameka 2005:2). This thesis examines multi-verb constructions in
Èdó (a Benue-Congo tone language) with the following foci: within
individual languages are there different types of multi-verb
constructions and tests that clearly identify them? What are the
argument sharing patterns that characterize the different types? What
are the aktionsart and temporal relations that license combinations of
multi-verb constructions?

11 multi-verb constructions in Èdó are shown to pattern into four
structural types with respect to the distribution of the past tense suffix –
rV, an infinitival marker yá, a floating anaphor tòbórè 'by him/her/it self
', interspersable VP adverbs and argument sharing patterns. In
particular, object sharing in multi-verb constructions is analyzed as
token sharing by grammatical function.

Based on the above distribution, two schemas are posited to account
for the structural types:

Verb-serial-compl (ement)-phrase with a complementation structure for
the V (P) +V (P) resultative and V+infinitival complement constructions.

Serial-mod-phrase with an adjunction structure for V+mood
constructions, V+modifier constructions and V (P) +V (P);
consequential; purpose; and negative resultative constructions.

The –rV suffix interacts in an interesting way with the temporal
structures of multi-verb constructions. Overlapping events license –rV
while non-overlapping events do not. This is formally stated as a
constraint on semantic combination constraining the suffix to affix only
to multi-verb constructions with unbounded temporal time span.
I also introduce a representation of tone in the HPSG analysis to
account for the interaction between tense, tone, inflection and
argument selection.

The study also examines multi-verb constructions in the following
languages of the Niger-Congo: Igbo and Yoruba (Benue-Congo),
Gurenne (Oti-Volta), Ga, Baule, Akan and Ewe (Kwa), and situate
properties of Èdó multi-verb constructions within a typology common to
these languages. The findings show that the typological features of a
language determine the types of multi-verb constructions it licenses.

In this study I have used Head-driven Phrase Structure Grammar and a
sub-eventual templates analysis for events (cf. Pustejovsky) as
analytical tools in my analysis.