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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: Reciprocal constructions in Meitei and Nyishi Add Dissertation
Author: Atanu Saha Update Dissertation
Email: click here to access email
Institution: Jawaharlal Nehru University, Linguistics
Completed in: 2015
Linguistic Subfield(s): Syntax; Typology;
Language Family(ies): Sino-Tibetan
Director(s): Ayesha Kidwai

Abstract: This thesis explores three interesting questions arising from the intriguing cross- linguistic perspective of Meiteilon and Nyishi. The first question is related to develop a model for the syntax and semantics of these verbal reciprocal languages. Secondly, the thesis attempts to provide an account for the surface variations among the languages by the model. The thesis also tries to build an account for the co-occurrences of the nominal and verbal reciprocals in languages like Meiteilon and Nyishi.

I have concluded that the syntax and the semantics of reciprocals have to be derived compositionally. I have supported the claims made by Faller (2007) and Yamada (2010) that reciprocity is a complex construction built up on more primitive operations in a language in spite of the surface variations. At the level of semantics, reciprocity comprises of three functions namely: reflexivization, irreflexivization and an n* pluralization depending upon the predicate.

I have also argued that the discontinuous reciprocals require separate treatments from their canonical reciprocal counter parts by treating the discontinuous constructions as transitives following Dimitriadis (2004). In case of co-occurrences of the nominal reciprocals with verbal reciprocals, I have argued that the nominal reciprocal markers pair-Merge for a collective-distributive distinction. I have shown that the nominal markers are barred with symmetric and discontinuous reciprocalization.

With regards to the binding facts, I have shown that canonical reciprocals in Meiteilon and Nyishi only allows for local binding. Meiteilon shows long distance binding with the verbal reciprocal, if a reflexive pronoun occurs in embedded clause. Nyishi does not allow reflexives to occupy such positions and hence it does not allow a non-local reading. Both the languages show long distance binding of reciprocals under two conditions: a) if the embedded clause is non-finite or b) an overt nominal reciprocal marker is present in the embedded clause.

Finally, the dissertation has tried to establish [u-group] as a universal feature F, by considering Meiteilon and Nyishi reciprocals on the basis of the morphological evidences presented in this work.