Parameter Theory and Linguistic Change

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  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 2012-12-29
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press

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This book focuses on some of the most important issues in historical syntax. In a series of close examinations of languages from old Egyptian to modern Afrikaans, leading scholars present new work on Afro-Asiatic, Latin and Romance, Germanic, Albanian, Celtic, Indo-Iranian, and Japanese. The book revolves around the linked themes of parametric theory and the dynamics of language change. The former is a key element in the search for explanatory adequacy in historical syntax: if thenotion of imperfect learning, for example, explains a large element of grammatical change, it is vital to understand how parameters are set in language acquisition and how they might have been set differently in previous generations. The authors test particular hypotheses against data from differenttimes and places with the aim of understanding the relationship between language variation and the dynamics of change. Is it possible, for example, to reconcile the unidirectionality of change predominantly expressed in the phenomenon of "grammaticalization", with the multidirectionality predicted by generativist approaches? In terms of the richness of the data it examines, the broad range of languages it discusses, and the use it makes of linguistic theory this is an outstanding book, notleast in the contribution it makes to the understanding of language change.

Author Biography

Charlotte Galves studied in Paris (Paris IV- Sorbonne and Paris VIII-Vincennes) and is currently Associate Professor of Linguistics at the University of Campinas. She has published on the comparative syntax of European and Brazilian Portuguese from both synchronic and diachronic perspectives. She coordinates the elaboration of the Tycho Brahe Parsed Corpus of Historical Portuguese. Her publications include Ensaios sobre as gramaticas do portugues and, as co-editor, Africa-Brasil: Caminhos da Lingua Portuguesa (Editora da Unicamp, 2001 and 2009).

Sonia Cyrino studied at the University of Campinas where she is currently Associate Professor. She has been a Visiting Scholar at the University of Maryland at College Park and at the University of Cambridge (UK). She is interested in syntactic theory and diachronic change in Brazilian Portuguese. Her publications include chapters in the iGoing Romancer series (John Benjamins) and articles in Journal of Portuguese Linguistics and Iberia-International Journal on Theoretical Linguistics.

Ruth Lopes joined the University of Campinas in 2006 where she is an Associate Professor. She has been a visiting researcher at the University of Maryland at College Park and at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. Her interests are language acquisition and the syntax-semantics interface. She is the co-authorm, with Carlost Mioto and Maria Cristina Figueiredo Silva of Novo Manual de Sintaxe (Insular, 2004).

Filomena Sandalo has a PhD from the University of Pittsburg and is currently Associate Professor at the University of Campinas. She was a Post-Doctoral Associate from 1996 to 1998 and a visiting scholar in 2001 and 2010-2011 at MIT. She has published on the phonology and morphology of Portuguese and the native languages of South America. Her publications include A Grammar of Kadiweu (MIT Occasional Papers in Linguistics 11, 1997).

Juanito Avelar studied in Rio de Janeiro and Campinas and is currently Associate Professor at the University of Campinas. He has published on syntactic variation and on the history of Brazilian Portuguese. His publications include Ter, ser e estar: dinamicas morfossintaticas no portugues brasileiro (RG Editora, 2009) and, co-edited with Fernao de Oliveira, Um gramatico na historia (Pontes, 2009).

Table of Contents

1. Parameter Theory and Dynamics of Change, Charlotte Galves, Sonia Cyrino, and Ruth Lopes
2. parameters in Old Romance Word order: A comparative minimalist analysis, Guido Mensching
3. Micro-parameters in the Verbal Complex: Middle High German and some modern varieties, Chris Sapp
4. Language Acquisition in German and Phrase Structure Change in Yiddish, Joel Wallenberg
5. Extraposition of Restrictive Relative Clauses in the History of Portuguese, Adriana Cardoso
6. Doubling-que Embedded Constructions in Old Portuguese: A diachronic perspective, Ilza Ribeiro and Maria A. Torres Morais
7. Brazilian Portuguese and Caribbean Spanish: Similar changes in Romania Nova, Mary Aizawa Kato
8. macroparametric Change and the Synthetic-analytic Dimension: The case of Ancient Egyptian, Chris H. Reintges
9. A Diachronic Shift in the Expression of Person, Judy B. Bernstein and Raffaella Zanuttini
10. The Formal Syntax of Alignment Change, John Whitman and Yuko Yanagida
11. The Diachronic Development of the Irish Comparative Particle, Elliott Lash
12. Deictic Locatives, Emphasis, and Metalinguistic Negation, Ana Maria Martins
13. Negative Changes: Three factors and the diachrony of Afrikaans negation, Teresa Biberauer and Hedde Zeijlstra
14. Romanian 'Can': Change in parametric settings, Virginia Hill
15. Prepositional Genitives in Romance and the Issue of parallel Development: From Latin to Old French, Chiara Gianollo
16. Parameter Theory, Historical Convergences, and the implicational Structure of UG, Giuseppe Longobardi
17. Macroparameters and Minimalism: A programme for comparative research, Ian Roberts

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