Comments on Hyams

  • David Lebeaux
Part of the Studies in Theoretical Psycholinguistics book series (SITP, volume 4)


Assuming, as usual, a theory of language acquisition in which the grammars of each stage pass into the next, We may inquire into the functions f 0, f 1, ... , f n which relate the successive grammars; we may also inquire into the nature and structure of the intermediate grammars, G i . An instance of parameter setting constitutes a particular sort of restricted f i , namely one in which the flanking grammars, G i and G i + 1 , are roughly equivalent in complexity, and both are possible end points. Hyams’ paper develops, in some detail, a particular instance of the parameter setting approach — namely, by analyzing the early optional lack of subjects as following from a setting of the pro-drop parameter. From this she attempts to predict the properties of both the input and output grammars (G i and G i + 1 ) at a particular point in time in the acquisition of English, as a consequence, so to speak, of the conversion of English as Italian to English as English.


Noun Phrase Language Acquisition Subject Position Early Speech Early Sentence 
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Copyright information

© D. Reidel Publishing Company 1987

Authors and Affiliations

  • David Lebeaux

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