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Theoretical Approaches to Disharmonic Word Order$
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Theresa Biberauer and Michelle Sheehan

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199684359

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199684359.001.0001

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Why Are There No Directionality Parameters?

Why Are There No Directionality Parameters?

(p.219) 8 Why Are There No Directionality Parameters?
Theoretical Approaches to Disharmonic Word Order

Richard S. Kayne

Oxford University Press

The human language faculty is antisymmetric, with consistent and exceptionless specifier–head–complement order, in part because probe–goal search shares the left-to-right directionality of production and parsing and in part because the merger of two phrases is unavailable. Many of the empirical arguments for antisymmetry involve cross-linguistic syntactic variation and thereby illustrate how such variation serves as a window on the principles of the language faculty.

Keywords:   antisymmetry, directionality, variation, probe, production, specifier, complement OV, precedence, symmetry

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