Show Summary Details

Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD HANDBOOKS ONLINE ( © Oxford University Press, 2018. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a title in Oxford Handbooks Online for personal use (for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice).

date: 26 June 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter discusses factors determining the structure of an I-language: genetic endowment, input/exposure to language, and principles not specific to language. The latter have become known as ‘third factors,’ which are argued to be principles that contribute to shaping the structure of grammars but that are not specific to language. Computational efficiency is one example of such a principle that has been suggested. In this chapter, the historical roots of the third factor perspective is traced and discussed. The third factor perspective in linguistics is also compared to a similar perspective in comparative biology outlined by the late Stephen Jay Gould. After a review of a few examples of what plausible third factors may be, the chapter ends with a discussion of the complex task of determining whether a given linguistic condition may be a third factor.

Keywords: biology, computational efficiency, cyclicity, Fibonacci, I-language, self-organization

Access to the complete content on Oxford Handbooks Online requires a subscription or purchase. Public users are able to search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter without a subscription.

Please subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you have purchased a print title that contains an access token, please see the token for information about how to register your code.

For questions on access or troubleshooting, please check our FAQs, and if you can''t find the answer there, please contact us.