Three fundamental issues in parametric linguistics

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In this paper we discuss three compelling questions, which impinge on parameter theory: (a) What are the actual parameters of UG? (b) What is the form of a possible parameter? (c) How are parameter values distributed in space and time? With respect to the first question, we present the guidelines of a heuristic methodology for discovering the parameters of UG, Modularized Global Parametrization, first proposed by Longobardi (2003). Building on the potential of such an approach, we pursue a minimalist critique of the general form of parameters and sketch the programmatic lines of a Principles & Schemata model of UG. To address the third problem, we begin to investigate the implications of a parametric approach to the study of phylogenetic relationships among languages and, more broadly, of cognitive approaches to the study of history.


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