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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: Reduplication at the word level: the Greek facts in typological perspective Add Dissertation
Author: Haritini Kallergi Update Dissertation
Email: click here to access email
Institution: Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Department of Linguistics
Completed in: 2013
Linguistic Subfield(s): General Linguistics;
Language Family(ies): Indo-European
Director(s): Thomas Stolz
Anastasios Tsangalidis
Georgia Katsimali

Abstract: This dissertation deals with total reduplication (TR) of the type vima vima, step step, ‘step by step’, aspros aspros, white white, ‘very white’, vivlio vivlio, book book, ‘real/proper book’ and pes pes, say:2SG.IMP say:2SG.IMP, ‘by saying all the time’. The object of study concerns Modern Greek (MG), but since it is approached from a typological point of view, it involves reference to other languages and to theoretical or typological models of analysis. The central aim of the dissertation is to describe the language-specific regularities of a phenomenon that is largely attested among languages of Southeastern Europe. Thus, focusing on MG, the thesis addresses the types of TR, its phonological, semantic and pragmatic aspects and the constraints and/or preferences of speakers concerning its use. The typology of TR in MG focuses on four meanings/functions, identified as the intensive, the contrastive, the distributive and the iterative. Part of the analysis of these functional types is based on data that come from two experiments: a Sentence Completion Task (SCT) referring to the relation of the above meanings/functions with word classes and semantic features of words, and a scripted speech (reading-aloud) task concerning the relation of intonation with the interpretation of TR constructions. The SCT has confirmed or refined earlier assumptions regarding the effects of word class, the [± concrete] feature, number, person and mood on the interpretation of TR. It has also pointed to correlations between these functions and other parameters, such as discourse type. The phonological task addressed the notorious issue of single stress of TR expressions, and resulted in clarifying the idea of prosodic unity in TR (as a feature that distinguishes it from pragmatic repetition). The phonological experiment has also provided a (formal) basis for making distinctions between types of TR in terms of status (esp. grammatical vs. pragmatic status). In general, the discussion of formal and lexical constraints on the use of TR functions leads to the observation that TR is a heterogeneous category that involves grammatical (e.g. the distributive), pragmatic (e.g. the contrastive) and lexical (e.g. “indefiniteness”) construction types, which nonetheless meet highly specific criteria for their status as TR constructions. From a theoretical viewpoint, however, TR cannot be unambiguously considered a grammatical or lexical class (in the sense of Wälchli 2005). Overall, TR seems to have a special, borderline, character, which is evident, first, in that it has both a lexical/idiomatic and a grammatical aspect, and, second, it is best described as the result of a copying process, not present in other types of construction. Independently of its fuzzy status, the TR types discussed are productive and “vital” (in the sense of Stolz et al. 2011), hence it is proposed that MG is a language that exhibits reduplication, contrary to earlier approaches that either reject the idea or consider reduplication a universal. As a productive, grammatical mechanism (with the distributive type being its “best” representative), TR should not be merely taken as a strategy for “emphasis”, but it should be systematically represented in grammar textbooks.

Stolz, Thomas, Cornelia Stroh & Aina Urdze. 2011. Total reduplication: The areal linguistics of a potential universal. (Studia Typologica 8). Berlin: Akademie Verlag.
Wälchli, Bernhard. 2005. Co-compounds and natural coordination. Oxford, New York: Oxford
University Press.