- Oxford Handbooks in Linguistics
- The Oxford Handbook of Universal Grammar
- List of Figures and Tables
- List of Abbreviations
- The Contributors
- Universal Grammar and Philosophy of Mind
- Universal Grammar and Philosophy of Language
- On the History of Universal Grammar
- The Concept of Explanatory Adequacy
- Third-Factor Explanations and Universal Grammar
- Formal and Functional Explanation
- Phonology in Universal Grammar
- Semantics in Universal Grammar
- The Argument from the Poverty of the Stimulus
- First Language Acquisition
- The Role of Universal Grammar in Nonnative Language Acquisition
- Principles and Parameters of Universal Grammar
- Linguistic Typology
- Parameter Theory and Parametric Comparison
- A Null Theory of Creole Formation Based on Universal Grammar
- Language Change
- Language Pathology
- The Syntax of Sign Language and Universal Grammar
- Looking for UG in Animals: A Case Study in Phonology
- Index of Authors
- Index of Subjects
- Oxford Handbooks in Linguistics
Abstract and Keywords
The study of natural language learnability is necessarily multidisciplinary. Its aim is to devise and evaluate possible psychological mechanisms by which a system bounded by the cognitive capabilities and linguistic exposure of a young child might be able to arrive at rich knowledge of an adult human language. The abstract formal models that launched this discipline have over the years become increasingly responsive to theoretical linguistic discoveries about the properties of natural language grammars, many embracing parameter theory in particular as a systemization of the ways in which grammars may differ. The concept of grammar acquisition as the setting of parameters has inspired a number of recent learning models, whose details are compared and contrasted here. But it has not swept away all learnability problems, as it has become clear that the input cues needed to trigger the correct parameter settings are often ambiguous or opaque.
Janet Dean Fodor has a Ph.D. in linguistics from MIT, and has taught at the University of Connecticut as well as at the City University of New York, where she is Distinguished Professor at The Graduate Center. She is the author of a textbook on semantics and of a 1979 monograph republished recently in Routledge Library Editions. Her research—in collaboration with many students and colleagues—includes studies of human sentence processing in a variety of languages, focusing most recently on the role of prosody in helping (or hindering) syntactic analysis, including the ‘implicit prosody’ that is mentally projected in silent reading. Another research interest, represented in this volume, is the modeling of grammar acquisition. She was a founder of the CUNY Conference on Human Sentence Processing, now in its 29th year. She is a former president of the Linguistic Society of America and a corresponding fellow of the British Academy for the Humanities and Social Sciences.
William Gregory Sakas is an Associate Professor of Computer Science and Linguistics at the City University of New York (CUNY) Graduate Center where he was the founding director of the Computational Linguistics Program. He is currently the Chair of the Computer Science Department at Hunter College, CUNY. His research focuses on computational modeling of human language: What are the consequential components of a computational model and how do they correlate with psycholinguistic data and human mental capacities?
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