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      Microparameters and language variation

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          Abstract

          Due to issues with macroparameters, much work has turned to identifying microparameters (generally feature specifications in the Lexicon). This line of research often focuses on the comparison of dialects or comparison among the varieties of closely related language families. Baker ( 2008) questions the sufficiency of focusing on such microparametric syntax. This paper shows that even within the varieties of a single language family (Chinese), the reliance on lexical feature specifications (microparameter) could miss opportunities for discovering more fundamental and principled factors underlying cross-linguistic differences. Indeed, some of such differences analyzed in terms of microparameters should be re-considered from the prosodic perspective. Our focus will be on a number of microparameters proposed by Huang ( 2014) as converging to an analyticity vs. syntheticity macroparameter, building on differences among diachronic and synchronic varieties in the Chinese language family. This paper shows that the relevant empirical claims are not confirmed when a broader range of data is investigated. Importantly, the analyses proposed in terms of microparameters mask more adequate accounts for the differences, with prosodic variation playing a role.

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          Most cited references77

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          Step by Step – Essays in Minimalist Syntax in Honor of Howard Lasnik

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            A grammar of spoken Chinese

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              The Minimalist Program

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                Author and article information

                Contributors
                Journal
                2397-1835
                Glossa: a journal of general linguistics
                Ubiquity Press
                2397-1835
                06 September 2019
                2019
                : 4
                : 1
                : 106
                Affiliations
                [1 ]University of Southern California, US
                Article
                10.5334/gjgl.938
                56a46221-5224-4813-ab0c-d6891de440d1
                Copyright: © 2019 The Author(s)

                This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC-BY 4.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited. See http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/.

                History
                : 12 March 2019
                : 11 June 2019
                Categories
                Research

                General linguistics,Linguistics & Semiotics
                Microparameter,Chinese languages,Prosody,Analyticity macroparameter

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