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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 and Aspect in Discourse: A study of the interaction between aspect, discourse relations and temporal reference within discourse representation theory with special attention to Bulgarian Add Dissertation
Author: Mariana Damova Update Dissertation
Email: click here to access email
Institution: Universit├Ąt Stuttgart, Department of Linguistics and English
Completed in: 1998
Linguistic Subfield(s): Computational Linguistics; Discourse Analysis; Semantics;
Subject Language(s): Bulgarian
Director(s): Hans Kamp
Mats Rooth

Abstract: This study is a PhD thesis from the Institute for Computational Linguistics, University of Stuttgart, Germany. It deals with the theoretical notion of aspect and the ways aspect is referred to in languages with different structure and devices to convey aspectual information. Aspect, along with tense and temporal expressions and clauses, reveals information about the temporal structure of texts. But it also has a part in shaping their rhetorical structure. Evidence from French, English, German, Bulgarian are studied, and it is shown that Bulgarian provides explicit language means to describe the semantic effects of aspect which are partially present in the three other discussed languages. The dynamic analysis of tense and aspect pursues the methodological headlines of Discourse Representation Theory ([KAMP,79,81;&al.,93]). A deeper look at Bulgarian language phenomena provides arguments for a new way of defining and formally representing the overall realm of aspect in a uniform way. The introduced method is based on combining the lexical semantic effects of the rich derivational mechanisms in Bulgarian with the meaning of the aspect related specific Bulgarian morphological category 'wid'. It results in elaborating a formal metalanguage, which allows accounting for the discourse semantics and rhetoric effects of aspect. In consequence the Bulgarian past tenses 'aorist' and 'imperfect' are discussed. Their interpretation and semantic representation are included into the developed formal account. Finally, a semantic construction algorithm, which ensures the explicit connection between syntactic structures and semantic representations is presented. Thus, the thesis offers a global account for treating Bulgarian aspect with respect to discourse relations and temporal reference in texts. It claims that the developed theoretical and formal apparatus is general enough to be valid and successfully applicable across languages. It can be incorporated into computer systems for processing of natural language texts.