I'm curious about your opinions on Principles and Parameters Theory. Do you consider it possible or rather you think that it is impossible that our grammar was structured that way.

I appreciate any respond


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1 Answer 1


I believe that Principles and Parameters theory is not necessarily the manner in which "our" language is constructed. Rather, it is a convenient and elegant way with which to observe cross-linguistic differences and deal with certain issues brought on by interference in the acquisition of a second language.

Based on Chomsky's Universal Grammar, parameters in language are often seen as binary switches in the language center of the mind, which may be convenient, but it does not fully encompass the true nature of languages, in my opinion (since you seem to be asking for opinion). For example, while it may be acceptable to say that most languages are SVO (e.g., English) or SOV (e.g., Japanese) word order and a language parameter may be set to one or the other, this binary excludes the other four word order attestations.

Also, to say that a language's grammar is constructed based on these theories is much like putting the horse before the cart. That is, the parameter cannot inform the grammar because it is the language itself which informs the parameter; you theoretically set grammatical parameters to the language you acquire natively. Additionally, when we consider certain creolized languages (such as Louisiana French Creole (LFC)), principles and parameters may be even less clearly defined. Consider copula-deletion in LFC, where whether or not the AUX is used is no based on a parameter of any kind because in most cases the speaker can choose to delete or NOT delete the copula on a whim.

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