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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: Topics in the Syntax of Mina Add Dissertation
Author: Disir Houngues Update Dissertation
Email: click here to access email
Institution: Boston University, Linguistics Department
Completed in: 1997
Linguistic Subfield(s): Language Documentation; Syntax;
Subject Language(s): Gen
Director(s): Marco Haverkort
Kenneth Hale
John Hutchison

Abstract: This thesis presents an investigation of some topics in the syntax of Mina. Mina is a language spoken in the southern part of Togo and the Republic of Benin and belongs to the Kwa language family.

This study assumes the principles and parameters framework of generative linguistics. It shows that Mina in some constructions exhibits head finality, which is a characteristic of some languages with subject object verb (SOV) word order. In other constructions, the word order is similar to the one observed in head initial languages or SVO languages. It will be argued following Kayne (1994) that Mina is an SVO language and that the SOV word order results from movement of the object out of its base position over the verb. This is shown by the analysis of the DP (determiner phrase), deverbal nominalization, the progressive, negation and Wh-constructions.

Deverbal nominalization in this language involves the phenomenon of reduplication by which the object of a transitive verb preposes and the trace of the verb is copied or spelled out. This syntactic operation occurs in the functional domain of a DP (determiner phrase), whereby the head Do is spelled out as a high tone. It will be argued that this functional head selects a VP, which is contrary to Grimshaw's (1991) claim that selection is constrained by the Extended Projection hypothesis which states that a functional projection must mirror its lexical counterpart. The analysis of the progressive in this language provides further evidence against this claim. Negation and wh-constructions exhibit some similarity in that they have two particles. The first particle occurs in sentence-initial position whereas the second one is always in sentence-final position. It will be argued that the second particle is an operator which has scope over the negative or Wh-sentence. It also will be demonstrated that the position of the second particle is the result of movement.