UCL Working Papers in Linguistics 10 (1998)

Violable principles and typological variation


In the Government-based literature, all structural principles supplied by UG are, without exception, assumed to exert their influence over every well-formed representation. We do find cases, however, where two principles that appear to be universally applicable make opposing predictions as to the grammaticality of a given structure. To resolve such instances of principle clash, I propose a localised form of principle ranking whereby a principle may be violated in order to allow a more highly ranked principle to make its contribution to grammaticality. I show how the incorporation of ranking into a principles-based model can make useful predictions concerning typological variation within ATR harmony systems.

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