Description : Against the background of the past half century s typological and generative work on comparative syntax, this volume brings together 16 papers considering what we have learned and may still be able to learn about the nature and extent of syntactic variation. More specifically, it offers a multi-perspective critique of the Principles and Parameters approach to syntactic variation, evaluating the merits and shortcomings of the pre-Minimalist phase of this enterprise and considering and illustrating the possibilities opened up by recent empirical and theoretical advances. Contributions focus on four central topics: firstly, the question of the locus of variation, whether the attested variation may plausibly be understood in parametric terms and, if so, what form such parameters might take; secondly, the fate of one of the most prominent early parameters, the Null Subject Parameter; thirdly, the matter of parametric clusters more generally; and finally, acquisition issues.
Description : Comparative work on linguistic varieties that are overall very similar can help us determine where and how exactly grammatical systems differ from one another, and how they change over time. This book explores a range of data on unfamiliar constructions across regional and social dialects.
Description : This monograph investigates the syntax of the finite verb in Mòcheno, a minority language spoken in a German speech island of Northern Italy. Basing her study on detailed new data collected during extensive fieldwork, and focusing on finite verb movement; on multiple access to the left periphery; on pro licensing and on the distribution of OV/VO word orders, the author refutes the traditional view that the syntactic variation found in Mòcheno is due to the presence of two competing grammars as a consequence of contact with Romance varieties and accounts for the peculiarities of Mòcheno syntax within a theory couched in the framework of Generative Grammar. This book contributes to our understanding of the verb-second phenomenon and sheds new light on the asymmetries between Old Romance and Germanic verb-second languages. A useful tool for all linguists working on both theoretical and comparative syntax and to anyone interested in language variation, dialectology and typology.
Description : This book considers the null-subject phenomenon, whereby some languages lack an overtly realized referential subject in specific contexts. In generative syntax-the approach adopted in this volume-the phenomenon has traditionally been explained in terms of a 'pro-drop' parameter with associated cluster properties; more recently, however, it has become clear that pro-drop phenomena do not always correlate with all the initially predicted cluster properties. This volume returns to the centre of the debate surrounding the empirical phenomena associated with null subjects. Experts in the field explore the cluster properties associated with pro-drop; the types of null category involved in null-subject phenomena and their identification; and the typology of null-subject languages, with a special focus on partial null-subject languages. Chapters include both novel empirical data and new theoretical analyses covering the major approaches to null subjects in generative grammar. A wide range of languages are examined, ranging from the most commonly studied in research into null subjects, such as Finnish and Italian, to lesser-studied languages such as Vietnamese and Polish, minority languages such as Cimbrian and Kashubian, and historical varieties such as Old French and Old High German. The research presented also contributes to the understanding of other key syntactic phenomena, such as the nature of control, the role of information structure and semantics in syntax, the mechanisms of language change, and the formalization of language variation. The breadth and depth of the volume will make it a valuable resource not only for generative syntacticians, but also for all those working in the fields of historical linguistics, typology, comparative grammar, semantics, and theoretical and descriptive linguistics more generally.
Description : Reflecting a multitude of developments in the study of language change and variation over the last ten years, this extensively updated second edition features a number of new chapters and remains the authoritative reference volume on a core research area in linguistics. A fully revised and expanded edition of this acclaimed reference work, which has established its reputation based on its unrivalled scope and depth of analysis in this interdisciplinary field Includes seven new chapters, while the remainder have undergone thorough revision and updating to incorporate the latest research and reflect numerous developments in the field Accessibly structured by theme, covering topics including data collection and evaluation, linguistic structure, language and time, language contact, language domains, and social differentiation Brings together an experienced, international editorial and contributor team to provides an unrivalled learning, teaching and reference tool for researchers and students in sociolinguistics
Description : Creole languages have in recent years become a valuable source of data for current theories of syntax and theories of child/adult language acquisition. However, grammars of these languages, particularly those couched within theoretical frameworks of one kind of another, are few and far between. This book contributes directly to creole linguistics by providing a detailed study of different aspects of the syntax of Mauritian creole within the theoretical framework of Principles and Parameters (Chomsky, 1981) and Minimalism (1995). It gives the reader a detailed account of the structure of this language and insight into the nature of creole languages, with implications for current cartographic and minimalist thinking on the structure and derivation of phrases and clauses. It will appeal to researchers of grammar and syntax, language acquisition, contact linguistics and sociolinguistics.
Description : The book addresses some important issues in second language acquisition research, such as access to Universal Grammar, the factors that account for success or failure in L2 learning, as well as parameter (re)setting, within the generative framework. The empirical data against which the research hypothesis is tested come from two main studies: a longitudinal one, involving beginner learners, and an experimental one, with elementary and advanced learners; all subjects are adults learning English in a formal instruction setting, with Romanian as L1. Starting from Chomsky’s (2005) account of first language acquisition in terms of three factors, namely genetic endowment, experience and non-linguistic principles, the first chapter of the book explores the question of whether the same three factors may be operating in second language learning. The rest of the book focuses on more specific research issues related to access to Universal Grammar and parameter (re)setting. Since L1 acquisition is defined mainly as the process of parameter setting on the basis of the input, parameter setting is expected to be at the core of L2 learning as well. However, in the literature, it has often been argued that one of the most important differences between L1 and L2 acquisition is related precisely to this process. The parameter which the book focuses on is the split IP parameter (Bobaljik and Thráinsson, 1998), in the case of Romanian L1 learners of English as L2. Romanian is (+ split IP) while English is (- split IP). In this case, the learners would need to move from the positive (+) value of the parameter to the negative (-) one, i.e. from a wider set of property values to a more restrictive one. There are three possible scenarios: (i) the L2 learners set the negative (-) value from the target language from the very beginning, on the basis of input alone; (ii) the learners first transfer the positive (+) value from their L1 and reset this value to the L2 negative (-) one as they progress in acquiring the L2; the final state is L2-like; (iii) the learners first transfer the positive (+) value from their L1 but resetting is impossible; the L2 underlying representations are different from those of native speakers even with advanced speakers, and what may account for final L2 state is parameter learning. These scenarios are explored with the help of the data provided by longitudinal and experimental studies.
Description : This work represents the first full-scale attempt to provide a restrictive theory of parameters--the nature and limits of syntactic variation. Focusing on syntactic saturation, Webelhuth hypothesizes that in natural language these phenomena are subject to the "Saturation Condition." He explains the principles behind this condition and demonstrates how it imposes strong constraints on what counts as a possible parameter in natural language. Webelhuth goes on to test this theory against empirical evidence from seven modern Germanic languages: German, Dutch, English, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, and Icelandic.
Description : This collection of twelve essays, some of which have been written specifically for this volume by well-known European and North-American sociolinguists, reflects an increasing recognition within the field that sociological and theoretical innocence can no longer be underwritten by it, and offers a multi-pronged and multi-methodological way to move towards a critical, reflexive, and theoretically responsible socio-linguistics. It explores, with courage and sensitivity, some very important areas in the enormous space between Bloomfieldian 'idiolect' and Chomskyan 'UG' in order to situate the human linguistic enterprise, and offers valuable insights into human linguisticality and sociality. These explorations expose the limits of correlationism, determinism, and positivistic reificationism, and offer new ways of doing sociolinguistics.Intended for both practicing and future sociolinguists, it is an ideal text-book for the times, particularly for graduate and advanced undergraduate students.