Exploring Crash-Proof Grammars

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The Minimalist Program has advanced a research program that builds the design of human language from conceptual necessity. Seminal proposals by Frampton & Gutmann (1999, 2000, 2002) introduced the notion that an ideal syntactic theory should be ‘crash-proof’. Such a version of the Minimalist Program (or any other linguistic theory) would not permit syntactic operations to produce structures that ‘crash’. There have, however, been some recent developments in Minimalism – especially those that approach linguistic theory from a biolinguistic perspective (cf. Chomsky 2005 et seq.) – that have called the pursuit of a ‘crash-proof grammar’ into serious question. The papers in this volume take on the daunting challenge of defining exactly what a ‘crash’ is and what a ‘crash-proof grammar’ would look like, and of investigating whether or not the pursuit of a ‘crash-proof grammar’ is biolinguistically appealing.

Subjects: Syntax; Generative linguistics; Theoretical linguistics

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