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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 Structure of Multiple Tenses in Inuktitut Add Dissertation
Author: Midori Hayashi Update Dissertation
Email: click here to access email
Institution: University of Toronto, Department of Linguistics
Completed in: 2011
Linguistic Subfield(s): Syntax;
Subject Language(s): Inuktitut, Eastern Canadian
Language Family(ies): Inuit
Director(s): Alana Johns

Abstract: This thesis presents and analyzes the tense system of South Baffin
Inuktitut (SB), a Canadian variety of the Inuit language. It demonstrates
that although closely related dialects have been argued to be tenseless
(Shaer, 2003; Bittner, 2005), SB has a complex tense system where the
present, past, and future are distinguished, and the past and future are
divided into more fine-grained temporal domains.

I demonstrate that SB has present tense, which is indicated by the absence
of a tense marker. A sentence without an overt tense marker may describe a
past eventuality if it contains a punctual event predicate; otherwise, it
describes an eventuality that holds at the utterance time. I argue that all
zero-marked sentences have present tense and any past interpretation is
aspectual. I also investigate six different past markers and demonstrate
that they all instantiate grammatical tense. The analysis shows that these
markers can be semantically classified into two groups, depending in part
on whether or not they block more general tenses (e.g., -qqau, the 'today'
past blocks the use of the general past -lauq when the time of eventuality
falls within 'today'). I label both the general tenses and the group which
can block the general tenses as primary tense, whereas the other group
which does not block more general tenses is labelled secondary tense. This
distinction may have broad cross-linguistic applicability. I examine the
distribution of four different future markers and argue that three of them
indicate grammatical future tense. They are also grouped into two groups,
in the same manner as the past tenses. Finally, I analyze the temporal
interpretations of primary tenses in dependent clauses. I show that when
tense is interpreted relative to the time of the superordinate eventuality,
the domain of tense may not necessarily shift accordingly (e.g., the domain
of hodiernal tense in a main clause is the day of utterance, and in an
embedded clause the domain can still be the day of utterance). Embedded
tenses with remoteness specifications have not been investigated before,
and this thesis opens up a new area to our understanding of tenses in human