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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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Academic Paper


Title: The Structure of Determiner Phrases: Evidence from American Sign Language
Author: Dawn MacLaughlin
Institution: Boston University
Linguistic Field: Syntax
Subject Language: American Sign Language
Abstract: This dissertation explores the structure of the Determiner Phrase (DP) in American Sign Language (ASL), with particular emphasis on determiners, adjectives, possessives, and agreement. The analysis reveals the existence of multiple agreement projections. Agreement features can be expressed manually and non-manually, through head tilt and eye gaze. The non-manual expressions of agreement behave like other non-manual syntactic markings in ASL, spreading over the c-command domain of the marking's source. The distribution of non-manual correlates of agreement provides important evidence for the structure of DP. /L//L/DPs in ASL may be associated with a location in space. A definite DP is associated with a point in space while an indefinite DP is associated with an area. The type of spatial location, whether point vs. area, has consequences for the determiner and agreement systems. For example, this distinction accounts for systematic differences in the articulation of definite and indefinite determiners in ASL. /L//L/It is argued that determiners and agreement features occur in the same syntactic position. Lexical determiners express agreement features by pointing manually to the location in space associated with the referent. Non-manual expressions of agreement involve head tilt and/or eye gaze pointing to those same locations in space. /L//L/Adjectives in ASL may occur either before or after the noun. Prenominal adjectives are analyzed as adjective phrases occurring in the specifier position of a functional projection, while postnominal adjectives are predicate phrases right-adjoined within DP. Evidence from the distribution of non-manual correlates of agreement shows that postnominal adjectives lie within the c-command domain of the functional head containing agreement features. /L//L/The possessive construction takes the form of [PossessorDP Possessive-Marker Possessee]. The possessive marker is generated in D, while the possessor DP raises from its base position within NP to the specifier of DP. Predicative possessive constructions are also addressed. There are significant parallels in the expression of agreement within DP and within the clause in ASL. Agreement patterns in possessive and non-possessive DPs parallel those in transitive and intransitive clauses, respectively. /L//L/The dissertation explores the consequences of these findings for our understanding of determiner phrases and agreement, both within ASL and crosslinguistically.
Type: Individual Paper
Status: Completed
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