Chapter

Parameter theory and dynamics of change<sup>1</sup>

Charlotte Galves, Sonia Cyrino and Ruth Lopes

in Parameter Theory and Linguistic Change

Published in print November 2012 | ISBN: 9780199659203
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780191745188 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199659203.003.0001

Series: Oxford Studies in Diachronic and Historical Linguistics

Parameter theory and dynamics of change1

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This chapter addresses two main issues which are the backbones of the volume: the theory of parameters and the dynamics of language change. It discusses new approaches to parameter theory, which offer a better understanding of the relationship between what can vary among languages and the dynamics of change. It emphasizes that the source of the observed directions of language change is not Universal Grammar itself but other components of the mind, referred to by Chomsky as the ‘third factor’. He defines the ‘third factor’ as involving ‘language-independent principles of data processing, structural architecture, and computational efficiency, thereby providing some answers to the fundamental questions of biology of language, its nature and use, and perhaps even its evolution’. An overview of the subsequent chapters is also presented.

Keywords: language change; linguistics; microparameters; macroparameters; historical syntax; third factor; Chomsky

Chapter.  9544 words. 

Subjects: Linguistics

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