Typology, Word Order, and Parametric Variation

Elly van Gelderen

in The Linguistic Cycle

Published in print April 2011 | ISBN: 9780199756056
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199896882 | DOI:
Typology, Word Order, and Parametric Variation

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Cycles are relevant for linguistic typology. The difference between head-marking and non-head-marking languages, i.e. between synthetic and analytic languages, depends on what stage of the agreement cycle they are in. The head-marking cycle can be seen as an analytic-synthetic-analytic cycle. Dependent marking cycles are in principle also relevant to the synthetic analytic cycle but are harder to relate to a cycle of change since they are more idiosyncratic. This chapter returns to parameters and the language faculty. There are currently two major approaches to parameters, a micro and a macro approach, and the chapter combines insights from both. Feature Economy is an alternative for Late Merge and Head Preference and accounts for the cyclical change seen in much of this book. This principle presupposes that cross-linguistic variation is the result of different lexical choices by the child acquiring the language. The chapter articulates Feature Macro-parameters to account for how the child knows what features to pay attention to. The chapter also also looks at word order and concludes that we know too little about cyclical change here.

Keywords: typology; analytic; synthetic; parameter; word order cycles

Chapter.  9140 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Grammar, Syntax and Morphology

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