This book provides a broad overview of parameter-setting theory in first
and second language acquisition and refines the theory by revisiting and
challenging the traditional assumptions that underlie it, based on
cross-linguistic language data that cover a range of syntactic and
From an historical perspective on parameter-setting theory to an
introduction to its role in computational linguistics, neurolinguistics,
and language change, the reader will find a critique of the most commonly
made arguments, as well as an index of all the syntactic, phonological,
lexical, and morphological parameters presented in the literature to date.
A closer look at the theory itself addresses the following questions: What
does a parameter-setting approach to language acquisition entail? What are
the underpinnings of the theory? What issues and problems remain to be solved?
The empirical studies carried out to test the null subject parameter and
verb movement parameter are reviewed to re-examine long-standing
theoretical assumptions as well as the learnability implications for first
and second language acquisition.