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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: NP-internal Agreement and the Structure of the Noun Phrase
Linguistic Field: Syntax
Subject Language: Dutch
Abstract: For the analysis of the noun phrase, the treatment which currently prevails in generative grammar is the one in which the head of the noun phrase is identified with the determiner, rather than with the noun. This D(et)P treatment has the advantage of providing a uniform account of all syntactic categories, both the substantive and the functional ones, and it provides a natural way to capture the co-occurrence restrictions between nouns and determiners, but it also faces a number of empirical problems. To solve them I propose an analysis in which the head of the noun phrase is identified with the noun, but in which the advantages of the DP treatment are incorporated as much as possible. This is done in two steps. First, I argue that the requirement (or the desirability) of a uniform treatment of all syntactic categories does not by itself favour the DP treatment, since there is no empirical evidence for the postulation of a separate syntactic category for the determiners. The argumentation is mainly based on an analysis of NP-internal agreement data and leads to the conclusion that the class of determiners is syntactically heterogeneous: there are the adjectival determiners, which are subject to morpho-syntactic agreement, and (pro)nominal ones, which are exempt from this agreement. Second, I dissociate the roles of head and selector. All prenominals, both the specifying and the modifying ones, are treated as functors which select a nominal head, rather than as heads which select a nominal complement. This functor treatment accounts in a natural and straightforward way for both morpho-syntactic agreement and semantic types of agreement. The language which is used for exemplification is Dutch, but at various points comparisons are made with German and English.


This article appears IN Journal of Linguistics Vol. 42, Issue 1.

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