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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 Morphology and Semantics of Expressive Affixes Add Dissertation
Author: Antonio Fortin Update Dissertation
Email: click here to access email
Institution: University of Oxford, D.Phil. in Linguistics
Completed in: 2011
Linguistic Subfield(s): General Linguistics; Morphology; Pragmatics; Semantics; Typology;
Language Family(ies): Niger-Congo
Slavic Subgroup
New English
Director(s): Christopher Potts
Ash Asudeh
Martin Maiden

Abstract: This dissertation focuses on two aspects of expressive affixes: their
morphological/typological properties and their semantics. With regard to
the former, it shows that the expressive morphology of many different
languages (including Bantu, West Atlantic, Walman, Sanskrit, Germanic,
Romance, Slavic, and others), has the following properties: 1) it is
systematically anomalous when compared to plain morphology, or the ordinary
processes of word-formation and inflection. From this, it follows that many
familiar morphological arguments that adduce the data of expressive
morphology ought to be reconsidered; and 2) it is far more pervasive than
has been traditionally thought. For example, the Sanskrit preverb, and the
Indo-European aspectual prefix/particle generally, are shown to have
systematically expressive functions.

With respect to the semantics of expressive affixes, it develops a novel
multidimensional account, in the sense of Potts (2005), of Spanish
'connotative affixes,' which can simultaneously convey descriptive and
expressive meaning. It shows that their descriptive meaning is that of a
gradable adjective, viewed as a degree relation which includes a measure
function, in the sense of Kennedy (1997). The expressive meaning of
connotative affixes, and expressives generally, arises as they manipulate
the middle coordinate, [b]I[/b], of expressive indices which, I propose, is
inherently specified on all lexical items and canonically set to 'neutral.'
I propose a new mechanism, [b]AFF[/b], which is an algebraic operation for
manipulating [b]I[/b], and which accounts for the well-known, and seemingly
'contradictory,'range of meanings that expressive affixes can express.
Whereas prior work assumes that expressive affixes are inherently
polysemous, this approach derives their many attested meanings and
functions (e.g., 'small,' 'young,' 'bad,' deprecation, appreciation,
hypocorism, intensification/exactness, and attenuation/approximation)
compositionally, from the interactions of their multidimensionality with
the meanings of the roots to which they attach.