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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: Tense, Aspect and Modality in a Radical Creole: The case of Saamáka Add Dissertation
Author: Marleen Van de Vate Update Dissertation
Email: click here to access email
Institution: University of Tromsø - The Arctic University of Norway, Center for Advanced Study in Theoretical Linguistics
Completed in: 2011
Linguistic Subfield(s): Not Applicable;
Subject Language(s): Saramaccan
Director(s): Gillian Ramchand

Abstract: This dissertation aims to provide an empirically driven and theoretically
informed study of the tense, aspect and modality system of Saamáka (or
Saramaccan), an English/Portuguese based creole spoken along the Suriname
River, Suriname.
The ambition of this dissertation is three-fold; First, to explore the
semantic interpretations and syntactic distribution of each individual
(core) tense, aspect and modality morpheme. Second, to establish the
hierarchy of functional projections in the IP domain. Third, to validate
whether Saamáka conforms to the universal hierarchy of functional
projections as proposed by Cinque (1999, 2001). These goals are intertwined
such that in order to validate the universal hierarchy of functional heads,
it is necessary to investigate the semantic and syntactic characteristics
of each individual tense, aspect and modality morpheme. Once it has been
determined what the characteristics of a certain functional item are, it is
possible to establish the overt manifestation of clausal functional heads
of the language which can be compared to Cinque's universal sequence. A
strong semantic and syntactic study of the IP domain of Saamáka not only
contributes to the description of an underrepresented language and
therefore to the understanding of language structure in general, but also
makes a comparison with other languages more accessible. Such a comparison
is relevant for the field of linguistics in general in that it will be
informative regarding possible language structures which will contribute to
the universal grammar debate and it is also relevant for the field of
Creole Studies in that a comparison with other creole languages and/or
substrate languages contributes to the creole genesis debate.
The data discussed in this dissertation was collected during two fieldwork
trips to Pikin Slee (spring 2008, spring 2009), which is a small village
along the Suriname River.