Dear all, I am giving a webinar tomorrow at the Ronin institute’s online series. The details are as follows:
Biolinguistic Inquiries: Formal and Empirical Properties of Parameter Settings
Presenter: Keith Tse
Summary: Chomsky’s Minimalist Program (1995 et seq) revolutionised modern linguistics in providing a cognitive approach towards perennial issues in language acquisition and change, and within such a formal framework it has become orthodox to formalise the universals and idiosyncracies of human language in terms of parameters which are argued to be set in first language acquisition in accordance with general cognitive principles (Borer (1984), Biberauer (2008), Roberts (2007, 2012), Roberts et al (2003, 2010)). A commonly noted characteristic of language acquisition is the ease and facility with which infants acquire their first language, and this has led to the hypothesis that language processing is conditioned by principles of ‘simplicity’ which minimise the amount of cognitive load. Within Minimalism which is itself an incarnation of Chomsky’s Principles and Parameters (1991, 1993) ‘simplicity’ has been rigorously defined in ways which suggest that certain types of syntactic operations are ‘simpler’ and hence preferred to others e.g. Merge over Agree over Move (Roberts et al (2003), Longobardi et al (2008)). Furthermore, while extant typological examples seem generally to obey such principles, formal parametric microvariations exist which seem also to give rise to subtle empirical differences. This presentation looks at the various formats and schemata of formal parameters within the Chomskyan framework as evidenced in examples of syntactic change and compares their empirical properties which may be correlated with their formal parametric differences.
I see that the weblinks may not have come out so well on this message board so if anyone is interested in attending please let me know and I shall send you the Zoom link as well as the password for tomorrow’s forum. It would be great to see many of you there tomorrow!