Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Measuring Grammatical Complexity$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Frederick J. Newmeyer and Laurel B. Preston

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780199685301

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: December 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199685301.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 26 January 2021

Complexity in comparative syntax: the view from modern parametric theory

Complexity in comparative syntax: the view from modern parametric theory

(p.103) 6 Complexity in comparative syntax: the view from modern parametric theory
Measuring Grammatical Complexity

Theresa Biberauer

Anders Holmberg

Ian Roberts

Michelle Sheehan

Oxford University Press

The theory of principles and parameters offers a promising approach to the question of explanatory adequacy. It is less clear whether this approach offers a way of approaching questions of complexity. The chapter addresses the question of what parametric theory can tell us about the complexity of grammatical systems. It presents an ‘emergentist’ view of parametric variation in which parametric options emerge from the interaction of an underspecified Universal Grammar, the primary linguistic data, and acquisition strategies. The chapter describes how this view gives rise to parameter hierarchies, and sketches five such hierarchies. It then investigates typological features of some example languages, showing how the complexity of these features can be calculated as a function of their position on the parametric hierarchies. In other words, this version of parameter theory gives a measure of the relative complexity of grammars.

Keywords:   case and alignment, emergentist, language acquisition, language typology, Minimalist Program, movement, null arguments, parameter hierarchy, parameters, universal grammar

Oxford Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs , and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us .