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Nahuatl contemporary writing: studying convergence in the absence of a written norm

Escobar Farfan, Jonathan Israel (2019) Nahuatl contemporary writing: studying convergence in the absence of a written norm. PhD thesis, University of Sheffield.

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Abstract

Language revitalisation (LR) is influenced by a concern with authenticity around which written conventions are largely seen as the result of careful designs based on authentic spoken usage. This dissertation proposes to see written conventions as the result of an authentication process carried on by a community of practice of writers, and to explore the points of convergence in this practice as a set of examples which could eventually become shared conventions in most varieties of a linguistic continuum. I focus on the revitalisation of Nahuatl, a linguistic continuum spoken in Mexico. The study of convergence in the written practice of Nahuatl must be carried out in a context of ideological, linguistic, and orthographical heterogeneity. I have tested a methodology to extensively investigate points of convergence between eight contemporary Nahuatl texts from eight contemporary varieties, comparing them with Classical Nahuatl (CN), an old Nahuatl variety codified in prescriptive sources. I have attempted to locate commonalities in these texts by identifying nuclear clauses (NCs): morphosyntactic structures which are a common feature across the Nahuatl continuum. I have used a Finite State (FS) model of CN to attempt a morphological analysis of the word types found in the contemporary texts. The word types that could be plausibly analysed as CN NCs by our FS model, were proposed as plausible points of convergence between the texts and CN. Using a force atlas diagram, each text was represented as a node in a network, with the distance between them being proportional to the number of plausible points of convergence between them. Findings are that the ambiguity of analyses proposed by the developing FS model are currently a pitfall of our approach, but that the plausible points of convergence could be used to locate texts occupying a ‘central’ position in an expanding network.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Keywords: Language Revitalisation, Finite State Morphology, Written Standards, Language Standardisation
Academic Units: The University of Sheffield > Faculty of Arts and Humanities (Sheffield)
Identification Number/EthosID: uk.bl.ethos.778784
Depositing User: Mr Jonathan Israel Escobar Farfan
Date Deposited: 20 May 2019 11:39
Last Modified: 25 Sep 2019 20:08
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/23958

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