This introductory chapter begins with a discussion of the purpose of this book, which is to propose the integration of up-to-date principles of theoretical linguistics, cognitive psychology, and complexity theory into a model of syntactic development. The goal is to examine a few core principles developed in linguistics (about syntax), in cognitive psychology (about human learning), and in complexity theory (about the growth of complex systems), and to derive from them hypotheses about the possible mechanisms of syntactic development. It presents developmental evidence about the hypotheses, and concludes with the best generalization about syntactic development based on theory and empirical data.
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