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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: The Modifying Participle as a Grammatical Category: Contrastive analysis of German and Greek modifying participles and modifying participial phrases and application in natural language processing systems Add Dissertation
Author: Christina Alexandris Update Dissertation
Email: click here to access email
Institution: National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Department of German Language and Literature
Completed in: 2003
Linguistic Subfield(s): Syntax;
Subject Language(s): German
Greek, Modern
Director(s): Elisabeth Kotzia
Friederiki Batsalia
Eleni Efthimiou
George Babiniotis

Abstract: The thesis supports that German and Greek modifying participles, traditionally named 'adjectival participles', constitute a separate grammatical category and not a type of adjective or adjective phrase or a 'mixed category' (Bresnan (1998)), according to the most recent bibliography (in both GB, HPSG and LFG and related Natural Language Processing applications). The analysis and proof is based on the thematic roles of the modifying participle (the traditional 'adjectival' participle) and modifying participial phrase that are compared and contrasted to the verb and the verb phrase. Although important elements are derived from HPSG and LFG bibliography, the analysis is in the GB framework (Kayne (1994), connecting the syntactic and the morphological level in a singular framework of analysis) and based on the Mirror Image Principle (Baker (1985), Haider (1993)) to account for the order of constituents in the two languages.

The thesis supports that the syntactic level contains elements differentiating the modifying participles from the grammatical categories with which they share common characteristics, namely the adjective and the verb. Specifically, the thesis supports that these elements are located in the syntactic structure of the modifying participial phrase and are differentiated against the syntactic structure of the adjective phrase and the verb phrase. The Greek and the German modifying participles are analysed in respect to their morphosyntactic function based on the analysis of Kayne (1994) in which the syntactic level interacts with the morphological level containing the nominal and the verbal elements of the modifying particle.

The thesis supports that the differences in respect to the order of constituents in Greek and German verb phrases accounts for the differences between the Greek and German modifying participial phrases, with which they share the same thematic framework. This relation in respect to the syntactic structure of the Greek and German verb phrases and the respective modifying participial phrases is based on the Mirror Image Principle (Baker (1985), Haider (1993)).

The thesis supports that the modifying participles do not constitute a type of adjective and are differentiated from the adjectives, based on the type of phrases they generate. The modifying participial phrase is not identified with the adjective phrase: Both types of phrases can alternately occupy the modifier node of N'. The thesis also supports that, in contrast to the adjective phrase, the Greek modifying particles can form elliptical modifying participial phrases with the same mechanism elliptical verb phrases are formed in the same language - in contrast to German, where both types of elliptical structures cannot be generated.

A chapter of the dissertation concerns suggested strategies/algorithms for the analysis and treatment of modifying participial phrases in monolingual and multilingual Natural Language Processing applications, namely Information Retrieval and Machine Translation. The proposed processes are based on the classification of the modifying participle as a separate grammatical category constituting an identifiable element that can, therefore, be subjected to transformational processes and/or extraction of its verbal features.