- Hard and soft conditions on the Faculty of Language: constituting parametric variation
- Linguistics in Potsdam
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
- Faculty of Humanities (FGw)
- Amsterdam Center for Language and Communication (ACLC)
In this paper I argue that both parametric variation and the alleged differences between languages in terms of their internal complexity straightforwardly follow from the Strongest Minimalist Thesis that takes the Faculty of Language (FL) to be an optimal solution to conditions that neighboring mental modules impose on it. In this paper I argue that hard conditions like legibility at the linguistic interfaces invoke simplicity metrices that, given that they stem from different mental modules, are not harmonious. I argue that widely attested expression strategies, such as agreement or movement, are a direct result of conflicting simplicity metrices, and that UG, perceived as a toolbox that shapes natural language, can be taken to consist of a limited number of markings strategies, all resulting from conflicting simplicity metrices. As such, the contents of UG follow from simplicity requirements, and therfore no longer necessitate linguistic principles, valued or unvalued, to be innately present. Finally, I show that the SMT does not require that languages themselves have to be optimal in connecting sound to meaning.
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