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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: Unaccusativity, Unergativity and the Causative Alternation in Hindi: A minimalist analysis Add Dissertation
Author: Richa Srishti Update Dissertation
Email: click here to access email
Institution: Jawaharlal Nehru University, Ph.D in Linguistics
Completed in: 2008
Linguistic Subfield(s): Syntax;
Subject Language(s): Hindi
Director(s): Ayesha Kidwai

Abstract: This thesis investigates unaccusatives, unergatives and the transitive and
causative alternation in Hindi within the minimalist framework.

Chapter 1 raises the question of gaps in apparent regularity in Hindi
causative alternation - in particular internally caused verbs do not have
either transitive or causative variants. Another issue raised is regarding
the instrumental/ablative Case -se in Hindi that appears on the causee in
causative construction, on the external argument in the Hindi inabilitative
passive construction, on instrumental adjunct phrases, as well as source
noun phrases.

Chapter 2 surveys the existing research on unaccusativity and unergativity.
It starts with the early approaches to transitivity, and examines the
progression to an articulated VP structure. The chapter demonstrates that
one of the most important research questions in the history of generative
grammar has been the determination of the domains in which the Case and the
Theta Theory hold/apply as distinct, related or disjoint. The main concern
is whether Case is parasitic/derivative of thematic configurations, or
whether Case and Thematic relations involve different
projections/configurations altogether.

Chapter 3 investigates the notional verb classes in Hindi. It shows that
the vocabulary of Hindi language contains mostly tatsam (borrowed from
Sanskrit and preserved intact) and tadbhav (derived from Sanskrit and
modified) words. Irrespective of etymology, however, most of the verb roots
would end up being listed as intransitives if one were to make reference to
morphology alone in decisions about what constitutes the base form of a
Hindi verb. Therefore, on the basis of the proposals by Levin & Rappaport
Hovav (1995), the chapter provides a semantico-syntactic classification of
Hindi verb classes.

Chapter 4 explores the diagnostics that identify unaccusative and
unergative verb classes crosslinguistically. These diagnostics are not
valid cross linguistically. They tend to yield different results in
different languages. With this note of caution in mind, the chapter
considers possible diagnostics (mostly based on Bhatt 2003) for
unaccusatives in Hindi. It then applies these diagnostics to Hindi verb

Chapter 5 focuses on another important argument structure alternation -
passives. It reviews Collins (2004)’s approach to passives and presents my
proposal for Hindi passives arguing that in Hindi regular passives the
auxiliary verb  'go' is the Voice head that selects a VP as its
complement and its accusative Case features are inherited by V in active
clauses, whereas in passives it is withheld by Voice and not absorbed.

Chapter 6 explores various syntactic and lexicalist approaches to the
causative alternation and existing research crosslinguistically, as well as
in Hindi. It argues for the syntactic approach to the causative alternation
as it is far more convincing.

Chapter 7 analyses the causative alternation in Hindi based on transitives.
The observations about transitives also reveal that the specifier position
of VP in Hindi is strongly constrained by the animacy requirement.

The chapter looks at the issues of the grammatical status of the causee in
the causatives and the morphological realization of the transitiver - and
the causativizer -w. Extending the Voice-based passive analysis, I
propose here that causative is a Voice that introduces an event with a -se
argument as causee.

The chapter concludes with a discussion of the main results of the thesis
and its implications for Case and binding in Hindi.