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Linguistic Variation Yearbook

image of Linguistic Variation Yearbook
ISSN 1568-1483
E-ISSN 1569-9900

<p>The <em>Linguistic Variation Yearbook</em> is devoted to the study of the nature and scope of linguistic variation from the point of view of a Minimalist program. This enterprise aims at expressing the results and insights attained in generative grammar in a principled way. It critically examines and severely constrains the technical and notational apparatus available within the theory of grammar. The study of linguistic variation has developed both on the level of variation among closely related languages (microvariation, dialectology) and of the level of variation within and among larger typological groups (macrovariation). Similarly, the study of synchronic and diachronic variation has likewise expanded, raising new tensions between explanatory and descriptive adequacy. The emphasis of the Yearbook is to relate the patterns of linguistic variation found among languages to the organization of the language faculty proper, taking into account its relations with other faculties of the mind/brain within the domain of Cognitive Science. It offers a forum for empirical and theoretical developments which further both our understanding of the nature of linguistic diversity and its preservation.</p><p>As of volume 11 (2011) this annual is continued as a journal: <a href="/catalog/lv"><em>Linguistic Variation</em></a>.</p>


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  • Possession and the double object construction
  • Variation in the phase structure of applicatives
    • Author: Martha McGinnis
    • Source: Linguistic Variation Yearbook, Volume 1, Issue 1, 2001, pages: 105 –146
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    • This paper argues that a substantial amount of the variation in the grammatical properties of applicative constructions arises from structural differences between two main types, identified by Pylkkänen (2000) as “high” and “low” applicatives. High applicatives take an NP specifier and a VP complement, while low applicatives take an NP specifier and an NP complement. The two types of applicatives differ in their lexical-semantic and transitivity properties, as well as in their A-movement properties under raising or passivization, and in their phonological phrasing. It is proposed that these differences arise from a difference in “phase” structure, where phases are syntactic domains that play a role in semantic and phonological interpretation.
  • Antisymmetry and the lexicon
  • Against a parameter-setting approach to typological variation
    • Author: Frederick J. Newmeyer
    • Source: Linguistic Variation Yearbook, Volume 4, Issue 1, 2004, pages: 181 –234
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    • The dominant position among generative grammarians with respect to typological variation is that it should be captured by parameters, which are either directly tied to principles of Universal Grammar (UG) or to functional projections provided by UG. Parameter-setting approaches, however, have failed to live up to their promise. They should be replaced by a model in which language-particular rules take over the work of parameter settings and in which most typological variation follows from independently-needed principles of performance. In such a model, UG specifies the class of possible languages, but not the set of probable languages.
  • Evidentials as epistemic modals: Evidence from St'át'imcets
    • Authors: Lisa Matthewson, Henry Davis, and Hotze Rullmann
    • Source: Linguistic Variation Yearbook, Volume 7, Issue 1, 2007, pages: 201 –254
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    • This paper argues that evidential clitics in St’át’imcets (a.k.a. Lillooet; Northern Interior Salish) must be analyzed as epistemic modals.We apply a range of tests which distinguish the modal analysis from the main alternative contender (an illocutionary operator analysis, as in Faller 2002), and show that the St’át’imcets evidentials obey the predictions of a modal analysis. Our results support the growing body of evidence that the functions of encoding information source and epistemic modality are not necessarily distinct. The St’át’imcets data further provide a novel argument against the claim that evidentiality and epistemic modality are separate categories. Many authors argue that evidentials differ from modals in that the former do not encode speaker certainty (see, e.g., de Haan 1999; Aikhenvald 2004).We argue that modals are also not required to encode speaker certainty; we provide evidence from St’át’imcets that marking quantificational strength is not an intrinsic property of modal elements.
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