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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 Syntax of Sentential Stress Add Dissertation
Author: Arsalan Kahnemuyipour Update Dissertation
Email: click here to access email
Institution: University of Toronto, Department of Linguistics
Completed in: 2004
Linguistic Subfield(s): Phonology; Syntax;
Subject Language(s): Armenian
Director(s): Diane Massam
Elizabeth Cowper
Keren Rice

Abstract: This thesis explores the nature of sentential stress, how it is assigned and its interaction with information structure. The central thesis is that the position of sentential or nuclear stress, the element with the highest prominence in the sentence, is determined syntactically and that cross-linguistic differences in this respect follow from syntactic variations. In particular, it is proposed that the Sentential Stress Rule applies in a phase-based manner (Chomsky 2000, 2001 and subsequent work) and assigns stress to the highest element in the spelled out constituent. This proposal provides a systematic way of accounting for a wide range of cross-linguistic facts, with data taken from Persian, English, German, Eastern Armenian and some Romance languages. An additional rule, namely the Focus Stress Rule, is proposed to handle the interaction between sentential stress and information structure. The Focus Stress Rule, which is also proposed to apply in a phase-based manner, ensures that a focussed
constituent receives the highest clausal prominence in languages which mark focus prosodically. It is shown that sentential stress is determined in an interplay between the default Sentential Stress Rule and the Focus Stress Rule. It is argued that the relationship between syntax and phonology is unidirectional, always from syntax to phonology, thereby arguing against syntactic phenomena being triggered by phonological or prosodic motivations (contra Zubizarreta 1998). It is also shown that, from a conceptual and empirical perspective, the proposed account of the interaction between focus and sentential stress is preferable to the theories based on the focus projection algorithm (Selkirk 1995).