Minimalism and Language Acquisition

Charles Yang and Thomas Roeper

in The Oxford Handbook of Linguistic Minimalism

Published in print March 2011 | ISBN: 9780199549368
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Linguistics

Minimalism and Language Acquisition

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Perhaps more clearly than any other field, the study of child language acquisition highlights the continuity from the Principles & Parameters framework to the Minimalist Program. This article is organized as follows. The first half lays bare the mechanisms whereby, assuming universal grammar (UG), the child is able to analyze and compare the input data. The fact that we are able to build a fairly intimate model of how UG extends to models that accept the raw primary linguistic data is a support both for the abstractions of minimalism and for the data-comparison systems which utilize them. The second half explores the promise of minimalism in the microscopic terrain of spontaneous acquisition. It provides an overview of where minimalist principles are at work: Merge and Label, Merge over Move, the Strong Minimalist Thesis, and its impact upon recursion.

Keywords: child language acquisition; Principles & Parameters; minimalist program; universal grammar

Article.  9608 words. 

Subjects: Linguistics ; Language Acquisition

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