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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: Reanalysis in English: The consequences of the Korrel shift on the verb system Add Dissertation
Author: Marc Bilanger Update Dissertation
Email: click here to access email
Institution: Université de Montréal, Department of Linguistics and Translation
Completed in: 1998
Linguistic Subfield(s): Historical Linguistics;
Subject Language(s): English
English, Middle
English, Old
Director(s): Rajendra Singh

Abstract: Around the year 1500, something happened to the verb system of English that was to change the way we use verbs for ever. This transformation, dubbed here the 'Korrel shift', occurred on the level of the conception of the verbal event. Before being able to use a verb to depict a particular event (be it a state or an action), we must represent the stretch of time that makes it up. Since the Germanic verb has a binary opposition, between past and non-past, it must answer the question of how to represent the 'moment of duration' which, like the present, is in reality only a point in time. Points have no dimension; in this, the present can be seen as the edge of a sword: it is impossible to stand on it, one must use part of either side for stability. Korrel (1991) has shown, through a comparison of usage between the English present perfect and its Dutch counterpart, that Modern English has chosen to start the moment on the 'future' side of the edge, to begin with a non-actualized part, whereas Dutch, like German, begins with an actualized part, the 'past' side as it were. It is shown here that Old English had the same conception as Modern Dutch but that, towards the end of the Middle English period, this conception changed to the one we now have. Since this conception is at the heart of the representation of the verbal event, it is to be expected that it would have other repercussions in both syntax and usage. Four such possibilities are studied here: the growth of the to-infinitive, the advent of the progressive, the rise of do-support and the evolution of the modals into a distinct class of verbs.