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Linguistic Variation in the Minimalist Framework$
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M. Carme Picallo

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780198702894

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198702894.001.0001

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Parameters and the three factors of language design

Parameters and the three factors of language design

(p.61) 4 Parameters and the three factors of language design
Linguistic Variation in the Minimalist Framework

Anders Holmberg

Ian Roberts

Oxford University Press

This chapter argues that the notion of ‘parameter’ has merit for the theory of syntax, and in particular for comparative syntax and the general attempt to construct a theory of the innate linguistic endowment, Universal Grammar. More specifically, for two things: first, a general ‘emergentist’ approach to parameters, arguing that, like many other linguistically significant notions, they emerge from the interaction of the three factors of language design discussed in Chomsky (2005) and elsewhere. Second, the chapter argues that, pace Berwick & Chomsky (2011) and Sigurðsson (2011b), that there must be parametric variation in the narrow syntax.

Keywords:   parametric variation, narrow syntax, comparative syntax, emergentist approach, factors of language design

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