A source of parametric variation in the lexicon

Guglielmo Cinque


An influential conjecture concerning parameters is that they can possibly be “restricted to formal features of functional categories” (Chomsky 1995: 6). In Rizzi (2009, 2011) such features are understood as instructions triggering one of the following syntactic actions: (1) External Merge; (2) Internal Merge (Move); (3) Pronunciation/Non pronunciation (the latter arguably dependent on Internal Merge – Kayne 2005a, b). In this article I consider a particular source of parametric variation across languages in the domain of the lexicon (both functional and substantive) which appears to be due to the possibility of underspecifying certain features in some languages. The paradigmatic variation can be characterized as follows: language A has two (or more) lexical items which correspond to just one lexical item in language B.


parameters, lexicon, underspecification, features

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.4312/linguistica.56.1.83-92


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Ljubljana University Press, Faculty of Arts
(Znanstvena založba Filozofske fakultete Univerze v Ljubljani) 

Print ISSN: 0024-3922
Online ISSN: 2350-420X