Cambridge Studies in Linguistics: Series Number 122: Mirrors and Microparameters: Phrase Structure beyond Free Word Order

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What is the nature of syntactic structure? Why do some languages have radically free word order ('nonconfigurationality')? Do parameters vary independently (the micro-view) or can they co-vary en masse (the macro-view)? Mirrors and Microparameters examines these questions by looking beyond the definitional criterion of nonconfigurationality - that arguments may be freely ordered, omitted, and split. Drawing on data from Kiowa, a member of the largely undescribed Kiowa-Tanoan language family, the book reveals that classically nonconfigurational languages can nonetheless exhibit robustly configurational effects. Reconciling the cooccurrence of such freedom with such rigidity has major implications for the Principles and Parameters program. This approach to nonconfigurational languages challenges widespread assumptions of linguistic theory and throws light on the syntactic structures, ordering principles, and nature of parametrization that comprise Universal Grammar.