publication . Part of book or chapter of book . 2008

Parametric versus functional explanations of syntactic universals

Martin Haspelmath;
Open Access
  • Published: 24 May 2008
  • Publisher: Benjamins
This paper compares the generative principles-and-parameters approach to explaining syntactic universals to the functional-typological approach and also discusses the intermediate approach of Optimality Theory. It identifies some fundamental differences between generative parametric explanations and functional explanations. Most importantly, generative explanations assume that cross-linguistic generalizations are due to the innate Universal Grammar, whereas functional explanations assume that language structure can be influenced by regularities of language use through language change. Despite these differences, both approaches to cross-linguistic similarities an...
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free text keywords: syntactic parameter, language typology, generative syntax, functional explanation
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