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Title: A Functional Analysis of the Clause Structure of Dari
Authors: Rashidi, Linda Stump
Keywords: Indo-European Languages
Indo-Iranian Languages
Issue Date: 1991
Publisher: Michigan State University
Abstract: While individual languages pattern differently, all languages share some central core of universal features. One area that holds promise in a search for a universal base is the analysis of functional relations. Systemic linguistics, which bases its framework on functional relations, is an ideal theory from which to work. Though many systemicists have been exploring these relations in English, little research has been done on other languages. This research investigates the functional structure of spoken Dari (Afghan Persian). The major text studied is an historical narrative told by a native speaker. The analytical focus is on the realization of meaning within context. The purpose of the study is threefold: 1) to explore universal notions, 2) to test the assumptions of systemic linguistics, and 3) to describe the structure of Dari. The data are analyzed from three perspectives: grammatical, functional, and thematic. The grammatical analysis reveals four clause types for Dari: relational, existential, transitive, and intransitive. The functional analysis, following M.A.K. Halliday, shows six distinct process types for Dari: material, mental, verbal, identifying, attributive, and existential. The use of Halliday's conceptualization of ergativity gives insight into the notion of agent. The analysis of Theme/Rheme structure points to the importance of Rheme as the core of the message, with Theme as the more secondary component. This analysis reveals areas of both similarity and difference between English and Dari. As such, the study suggests some possible areas where assumptions of universals, in general, and systemics, in particular, might be re-evaluated.
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