Studies in Theoretical Psycholinguistics

Language Acquisition and the Theory of Parameters

Authors: Hyams, Nina

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About this book

This book is perhaps the most stunning available demonstration of the explanatory power of the parametric approach to linguistic theory. It is akin, not to a deductive proof, but to the discovery of a footprint in a far-off place which leaves an archeologist elated. The book is full of intricate reasoning, but the stunning aspect is that the reasoning moves between not only complex syntax and diverse languages, but it makes predictions about what two-year-old children will assume about the jumble of linguistic input that confronts them. Those predictions, Hyams shows, are supported by a discriminating analysis of acquisition data in English and Italian. Let us examine the linguistic context for a moment before we discuss her theory. The ultimate issue in linguistic theory is the explanation of how a child can acquire any human language. To capture this fact we must posit an innate mechanism which meets two opposite constraints: it must be broad enough to account for the diversity of human language, and narrow enough so that the child does not make irrelevant hypotheses about his own language, particularly ones from which there is no recovery. That is, a child must not posit a grammar which permits all of the sentences of a language as well as other sentences which are not in the language. In a word, the child must not create a language in which one cannot make adult discriminations between grammatical and ungrammatical.

Table of contents (6 chapters)

Table of contents (6 chapters)

Buy this book

eBook $119.00
price for USA in USD (gross)
  • ISBN 978-94-009-4638-5
  • Digitally watermarked, DRM-free
  • Included format: PDF
  • ebooks can be used on all reading devices
  • Immediate eBook download after purchase
Hardcover $209.00
price for USA in USD
  • ISBN 978-90-277-2218-8
  • Free shipping for individuals worldwide
  • Usually dispatched within 3 to 5 business days.
Softcover $159.99
price for USA in USD
  • ISBN 978-90-277-2219-5
  • Free shipping for individuals worldwide
  • Usually dispatched within 3 to 5 business days.
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Bibliographic Information

Bibliographic Information
Book Title
Language Acquisition and the Theory of Parameters
Authors
Series Title
Studies in Theoretical Psycholinguistics
Series Volume
3
Copyright
1986
Publisher
Springer Netherlands
Copyright Holder
D. Reidel Publishing Company, Dordrecht, Holland
eBook ISBN
978-94-009-4638-5
DOI
10.1007/978-94-009-4638-5
Hardcover ISBN
978-90-277-2218-8
Softcover ISBN
978-90-277-2219-5
Series ISSN
1873-0043
Edition Number
1
Number of Pages
XIV, 186
Topics