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date: 27 October 2021

Abstract and Keywords

The Principles-and-Parameters Theory marked an important milestone in formal linguistic theoryby offering a plausible solution to the logical problem of language acquisition, leading to a productive field of inquiry that uncovered important universal properties and macro-patterns of parametric variation among an unprecedented number of languages. Recent advances in parametric theory have capitalized on microparametric variation, raising certain questions about the status of macro-parameters. In this chapter, developing recent work and using the facts of Chinese as a paradigm case, we show that (a) both macro- and microparameters are needed in linguistic theory, (b) macroparameters are simply aggregates of microparameters acting in concert with a conservative learning strategy, and (c) the (micro)parameters themselves are hierarchically organized. Assuming a ‘three factors’ model, we take parameters to be emergent properties that result from the interaction of a radically unspecified UG, experience, and third-factor principles like Feature Economy and Input Generalization.

Keywords: parametric theory, macroparameters, microparameters, feature economy, input generalization, Modern and Old Chinese

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