Towards a Parameter Hierarchy for Alignment

Sheehan, Michelle (2014) Towards a Parameter Hierarchy for Alignment. In: 31st West Coast Conference on Formal Linguistics, 7-9 February 2013, Tempe, AZ.

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This paper proposes a parameter hierarchy to derive all and only the various clausal alignments attested in natural languages (accusative, split-S, morphologically ergative, tripartite, syntactically ergative high and low absolutive). These alignments are derived from five dependent parameters which, it is argued, also serve to derive a number of otherwise mysterious universal implications, such as the ban on split-S syntactically ergative languages. Rather than being prespecified in Universal Grammar, it is proposed that the parameter hierarchy in question is structured by the pressure for convergence: ordering the relevant parameters in any other way makes possible non-convergent derivations. As such, the parameter hierarchy provides not only a characterisation of which alignments are attested in natural language but also the beginnings of an explanation as to why we find these alignments and no others.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Keywords: alignment, case, parameter hierrachy
Faculty: ARCHIVED Faculty of Arts, Law & Social Sciences (until September 2018)
Depositing User: Michelle Sheehan
Date Deposited: 21 Jul 2016 13:16
Last Modified: 08 Apr 2022 14:54

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