Parametric Comparison and Language Taxonomy
It is still a widely held opinion that the contribution of formal syntactic theories to modern linguistics is essentially focused on synchronic generalizations and that it does not extend to the most classical problems of the historical paradigm. Such a belief is beginning to fade away as a consequence of increased work in diachronic syntax. This chapter argues that the generative theory of syntactic parameters might interestingly renovate another stronghold of the historical study of language, phylogenetic taxonomy, and undermine the Humboldtian received distinction between the latter and grammatical typology.
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