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Oceanic languages: A comparative investigation of pre-clausal constructions

This thesis presents an investigation of pre-clausal phenomena in the lesser-studied languages of the Oceanic language family. The study is innovative in that the pre-clausal structure of interest, hereinafter labelled as a PRE construction, is analysed in its entirety, and found to exhibit prototypicality in regards to its structure and function. In regards to structure, the prototype possesses pre-clausal sequencing, and an intonation break longer than 0.2 s between the pre-clausal nominal constituent and its associated simple, complex, or non-verbal clause. Also attested in the prototype is a coreferencing relation distributing syntactic and semantic meaning between the pre-clausal constituent and either a free form nominal or pronominal, and /or a verb phrase index from the associated clause. The functional explanation of PRE constructions offered in this work is also distinctive, being developed with recourse to the models of Conceptual Blending (Fauconnier and Turner 1996, 1998, 2002, 2003) and the Greater Attentional System (Oakley 2004, 2009), as well as the typology of conceptual blends proposed by Brandt (2013:415–422). Accordingly, it is argued that PRE constructions are expressions of a schematic intraspace blend [PRE,ASC], the function of which is to foreground information via the human attention system. This schematic structure [PRE,ASC] provides the template for the creation of novel interspace blends, characterised by the nature of the meaning relations created during the conceptual integration of the PRE construction components. For prototypical blends, the integration is such that the conceptual counterparts represented by the pre-clausal constituent and the associated clause are perceived as identical in the resulting blend. Additionally, in response to the difficulties associated with determining the status of pre-clausal constructions within the larger linguistic system, it is proposed that such structures exemplify a new linguistic unit of analysis referred to as an expanded clause. An expanded clause is defined as a type of complex clause, where the distributed meaning relations between the parts characterise the notions of dependency and expansion.
Type of thesis
Macdonald, D. E. (2017). Oceanic languages: A comparative investigation of pre-clausal constructions (Thesis, Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)). University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10289/11363
University of Waikato
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