These essays by an outstanding group of linguists present case studies in contemporary comparative grammar, illustrating the rich and varied ways in which the principles and parameters framework of generative grammar can provide explanations for both the underlying universal properties of the world's languages and the ways in which they differ. The final essay by Noam Chomsky offers a new perspective on the principles and parameters approach to comparative grammar.
In his introduction, Freidin describes the historical background of current work in comparative grammar and compares this work to the comparative studies of the nineteenth century. He notes how the current approach traces the fundamental unity of all languages to the language faculty, in contrast to that of the nineteenth century which was primarily concerned with the ancestral relations among languages. The essays that follow convey the wide scope of the interaction between current theory and crosslinguistic studies.
Topics include the relevance of binding theory for crosslinguistic studies; the interaction between the syntax/lexical semantics interface and the theory of UG; the role of phrase structure and levels of representation in accounting or syntactic variation; crosslinguistic variation in word order phenomena; and the ways in which the study of comparative grammar can itself contribute to the understanding of UG.
Contributors: Joseph Aoun. Adriana Belletti. Noam Chomsky. Robert Freidin. Wayne Harbert. Norbert Hornstein. C.-T. James Huang. Anthony S. Kroch. Howard Lasnik. Yen-hui Audrey Li. David Lightfoot. Luigi Rizzi. Ken Safir. Beatrice Santorini. Rex A. Sprouse. Timothy Stowell. Tarald Taraldsen. Lisa deMena Travis. Edwin Williams.
About the Editor
Robert Freidin is Professor of the Council of the Humanities in the Philosophy Department at Princeton University.