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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: Time Relations in Discourse. Evidence from a Comparative Approache to Yukatek Maya Add Dissertation
Author: Jürgen Bohnemeyer Update Dissertation
Email: click here to access email
Institution: Universiteit van Tilburg, Department of Linguistics
Completed in: 1998
Linguistic Subfield(s): Discourse Analysis; Syntax;
Subject Language(s): German
Director(s): Eve Danziger
Leo Noordman
Stephen Levinson

Abstract: This study is devoted to the investigation of the expression of temporality in Yukatek Maya, a Native Mesoamerican language spoken on the peninsula of Yucatan. It is shown that with certain marginal exceptions, event order is not part of truth-conditional semantic representations in Yukatek. In particular, there are no tenses, and no temporal connectives equivalent to English _after_ and _before_. Time reference in Yukatek emerges as inference-driven, based on boundary operators, such as aspectuals and phasals, to an extent hitherto unattested in typology. At the same time, the results of a study involving a referential communication task with a non-verbal stimulus suggest that discourse representations of event order are pragmatically equivalent accross speakers of Yukatek and German, despite the fact that event order regularly forms a truth-conditional part in the utterances of the German speakers, but not in those of the Yukatek speakers. No difference in cognitive representations of event order across speakers of the two languages was attested. To account for these results, a theory of inferences from aspectual information to event order in terms of Generalized Conversational Implicatures is proposed.