Principles and parameters  

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

Principles and parameters is a framework within generative linguistics in which the syntax of a natural language is described in accordance with general principles (i.e. abstract rules or grammars) and specific parameters (i.e. markers, switches) that for particular languages are either turned on or off. For example, the position of heads in phrases is determined by a parameter. Whether a language is head-initial or head-final is regarded as a parameter which is either on or off for particular languages (i.e. English is head-initial, whereas Japanese is head-final). Principles and parameters was largely formulated by the linguists Noam Chomsky and Howard Lasnik. Many linguists have worked within this framework, and for a period of time it was considered the dominant form of mainstream generative linguistics.

Examples

Examples of theorized principles are:

Examples of theorized parameters are:

See also




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