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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: Une lecture pragmatique des morphemes temporels du swahili Add Dissertation
Author: Frederick Iraki Update Dissertation
Email: click here to access email
Institution: University of Geneva, Certificate of Specialization in Linguistics
Completed in: 2003
Linguistic Subfield(s): Pragmatics;
Subject Language(s): Swahili
Director(s): Jacques Moeschler

Abstract: The dissertation re-analyses temporal-aspectual morphemes of the Swahili language within the framework of pragmatics. In other words, it is argued that although these morphemes may encode a basic or skeleton logical form, their full meaning is realized by incorporating contextual information. The latter refers to the cognitive environment of the listener, i.e. the information available to his mind as he interprets the utterance.

In addition, it is further posited that the morphemes seem to be in conflict in the description of eventualities (events & states). Hence, a Conflict Model (CM) is proposed to elucidate the usage of various tenses in describing an eventuality. For instance, it is suggested that -na-, -li- and ‧'me- may be in competition to decribe a past event. Likewise, -na- and ‧'ta- could be in conflict to describe a future event. The choice of the morpheme depends, to a large extent, on the effect that the speaker intends to produce in the mind of the listener or reader. The same choice is also constrained by the Principle of Optimality.

The CM captures this cognitive darwinism by integrating other frameworks such as Mental representation Theory, Optimality Theory, Multiple Intelligence Theory, Natural Selection, Genetics and Memetics.

Finally, a comparison between French tenses and swahili temporal-aspectual morphemes reveals that, from a pragmatic standpoint, the two languages present more points of convergence that divergence.