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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 Spatio-Temporal Setting in Written Narrative Fiction. A Study of Interaction between Words, Text and Encyclopedic Knowledge in the Creation of Textual Meaning Add Dissertation
Author: Kari Pitkänen Update Dissertation
Email: click here to access email
Institution: University of Helsinki, Department of General Linguistics
Completed in: 2003
Linguistic Subfield(s): Discourse Analysis; Pragmatics; Semantics;
Subject Language(s): English
Director(s): Lauri Carlson
Jan-Ola Östman
Orvokki Heinämäki
Fred Karlsson

Abstract: This work focuses on the spatio-temporal setting, the compositional frame, which provides the preliminary key parameters of the original situation and surroundings depicted by the text. The analysis is based on 150 text beginnings of English written narrative fiction supported by a lexical analysis mainly based on 20,000 WordNet lexemes.

A clearly separate setting is not the norm. It occurred in only 37% of the material while 45% of the settings were established gradually or integrated into the text. A separate setting is slightly more common in space-oriented settings while in character and action-oriented settings the spatio-temporal aspects of the setting are established gradually. Settings focusing on physical surroundings tend to be separate while settings focusing on socio-cultural and mental aspects of the world are often provided gradually or integrated into the story.

Spatial and temporal information is partly transmitted by other than primarily spatial or temporal expressions. Some lexemes name spatial and temporal frames while others trigger them. Creating a setting is based on connecting proper frame triggers and co-text with what the reader supposedly knows otherwise. Thus, the same conventional frames and frame triggers tend to occur in settings.

When the setting is based on a shared frame, less text is needed, making it possible to focus on characters and action, and to provide the surroundings gradually through either the narrator's or the protagonist's point of view. Often, textual information is enriched with encyclopedic knowledge and manipulated textually in order to evoke and modify a frame and/or textual meaning and to provide the reader with a specific point of view. The analysis of the settings and the lexicon revealed that the interface between language and the world, and the knowledge of the frames are crucial and should be taken into account both in lexical and text semantic descriptions.