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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 Phraseology of Egils Saga Add Dissertation
Author: Louis Janus Update Dissertation
Email: click here to access email
Institution: University of Minnesota, Department of Germanic Philology
Completed in: 1994
Linguistic Subfield(s): Historical Linguistics;
Subject Language(s): Norse, Old
Director(s): Anatoly Liberman

Abstract: This thesis presents and analyzes set phrases in the Old Norse Egils saga.. Phraseology provides the framework for identifying, classifying, and discussing these word groups. While most phraseological studies rely on native speaker judgments and intuitions, I attempt to collect and analyze set phrases in a closed corpus of a nonliving language.

Chapter One includes a general discussion of phraseology, presenting some of phraseology's definitions, assumptions and tenets. Five significant aspects that describe phraseological units and strengthen the cohesion among the constituent words are presented. Some set phrases (particularly idioms) show semantic shift among the constituent words9 meanings and the meaning of the whole phrase. Generally set phrases are ready-made, stable, have word-like quality, and are used frequently or habitually.

Chapter Two presents and describes eight types of set phrases found Egils saga. These types (with one English example) follow:
idioms (give the ax); sayings and proverbs (haste makes waste); verb plus particle constructions (give up); verbal periphrases (make a decision ); irreversible binomials (beck and call ); collocations (burning hot); narrative formulas (make a long story short); and miscellaneous phrases (strong as an ox ).

Phraseology's definitions and guidelines for determining membership in a type of set phrase are often ambiguous and problematic.

Chapter Three presents and analyzes every occurrence in Egils saga of the general verb taka 'take' with an accusative noun. The goal is to determine if there is a relationship between syntactic and morphological features of these constructions and their phraseological qualities, including semantic shifts and idiomaticity. For each of the 149 examples, I note which of nine features are exhibited. Features included, among others: 1. modification of the noun; 2. more than the noun as object; 3. presence of an adverb; and 4. compound noun.

When I analyzed the phrases grouped by the total number of exhibited features, I found weak evidence that the fewer the number of features, the more rigid the phrase, and the more likely it is to be idiomatic. In addition, nouns with fewer features had less freedom to combine elsewhere in the saga.