Javascript verkar inte påslaget? - Vissa delar av Lunds universitets webbplats fungerar inte optimalt utan javascript, kontrollera din webbläsares inställningar.
Du är här

Meaningful silence, meaningless sounds.

Publiceringsår: 2004
Språk: Engelska
Sidor: 235-259
Publikation/Tidskrift/Serie: Linguistic Variation Yearbook
Volym: 4
Dokumenttyp: Artikel i tidskrift
Förlag: John Benjamins Publishing Company


This paper discusses the very general question of how syntactic features of individual languages relate to the universal set of syntactic features. It is pointed out that Chomsky’s approach (2001a) to this fundamental issue is paradoxical. On one hand he argues that language is uniform in the relevant sense (L-UNIFORMITY), but, on the other hand, he also assumes that languages make different selections of features from a universal feature set (L-SELECTION). The paper argues strongly that L-uniformity is the only conceivable possibility. However, if that is correct, a great deal of what languages have is common is ‘silence’, that is, categories that are present in Narrow Syntax but silent in PF. In other words, language has innate elements and structures irrespective of whether or how they are overtly expressed. It follows that language variation is to a substantial extent ‘silence variation’, that is, much of it boils down to languages being explicit vs. silent about different (syntactically active) categories. This claim is coined as the SILENCE PRINCIPLE, saying that any meaningful feature of language may be silent.


  • Languages and Literature


  • GRIMM-lup-obsolete
  • ISSN: 2211-6834

Box 117, 221 00 LUND
Telefon 046-222 00 00 (växel)
Telefax 046-222 47 20
lu [at] lu [dot] se

Fakturaadress: Box 188, 221 00 LUND
Organisationsnummer: 202100-3211
Om webbplatsen