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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: Romance Clitics and Feature Asymmetry: An autosegmental-based approach Add Dissertation
Author: Louis-H Desouvrey Update Dissertation
Email: click here to access email
Institution: Université du Québec à Montréal, Département de linguistique
Completed in: 2000
Linguistic Subfield(s): Syntax;
Language Family(ies): Romance
Director(s):

Abstract: This thesis deals with pronominal clitics in Romance. A feature-based analysis drawing heavily on nonlinear representations in phonology as well as the notions of constraint interaction is proposed. It is shown that pronominal elements are inherently specified for a series of features, including Case and thematic features, which form tiers independent of the morphemes bearing them. Case features are crucial in the analysis; it is shown that an element is a special clitic in the sense of Zwicky (1977) iff it is specified for Case.

Similarly to pronominal elements, it is suggested that verbs are inherently specified for Case and thematic features, which are organized hierarchically. Assuming the bare phrase structure theory (Chomsky, 1995), coupled with a strong lexicalist hypothesis, which excludes abstract functional heads in phrase markers, it is shown that verbs interact with Case-specified arguments in ways that fall under a well-known family of constraints in nonlinear phonology, known under the name of Obligatory Contour Principle (OCP; Goldsmith, 1976;McCarthy, 1986; etc.) It is shown that the OCP in syntax forces Case-specified arguments that are generated within the complement domain of the verb, i.e. the domain containing the internal arguments, to move outside this domain. In addition to movement, the OCP requires Cases of the verb and those of the arguments to fuse. Case fusion forces Case bearing elements to become adjacent, usually by movement of the element intervening between them. This process is much like gemination effects in nonlinear phonology.

The OCP and a few other constraints make it possible to account for various phenomena related to cliticization in French, Italian, and Spanish in a principled way. These are: clitic order, including the cause of the dative-accusative and accusative-dative variation observed only in French, clitic climbing, clitic doubling and the me-lui/I-II effects.

It is shown that opaque clitics in French imperative verbs, as well as in Spanish and Italian, result from the violation of differents constraints, while they are repaired by the same mechanism, namely a delinking process. In French imperative structures, a feature mismatch between the clitic and the verb triggers a delinking process that converts the clitic into a spurious strong form. In Spanish, the third person dative clitic 'le' prevents the accusative clitic from being licensed; this triggers a delinking process yielding the 'spurious se'. Similarly, in all clitic clusters in Italian, the dative clitic must be manipulated in order to allow the licensing of the accusative clitic.

Other important results are that clitic doubling in Standard and River Plate Spanish is shown to arise from a feature mismatch during the structure building stage in the computational space. Encliticization to infinitive verbs in Spanish and clitic climbing are shown to be due to a superiority effect, given the hypothesis that both clitics and infinitive verbs in Spanish are operators. The same constraints are shown to carry over to elements traditionaly considered to be unrelated: wh-movement in French is shown to be triggered by an OCP effect; the only difference with pronominal clitics is that, for some reason, Case-specified wh-operators move to clause initial position in French and similar languages.