The Principles-and-Parameters Model and the Verb Phrase

  • Karen Zagona
Part of the Studies in Natural Language and Linguistic Theory book series (SNLT, volume 13)


Linguistic theory, as defined in the generative framework, is concerned with the following questions: what is knowledge of language, how is this knowledge acquired, and how is it used? The first question is logically prior, since it is impossible to study how a state of knowledge is acquired or used without establishing independently the relevant sense of ‘knowledge’. Current research in linguistic theory investigates precisely this question. It is a theory of knowledge about language, whose goal is to account for the judgments of a speaker/hearer with respect to sentences in the language. In recent work, Chomsky (1986a) distinguishes between I(internal)-language and E(external)-language. I-language (a mental system of knowledge) assigns a status to expressions or, in other words, forms judgments about them. In (1), for example, each sentence is assigned a particular status (well-formed, ill-formed but interpretable, uninterpretable) with respect to conditions or principles of the I-language:
  1. (1) a.

    Colorless green ideas sleep furiously.

  2. b.

    She will leave yesterday.

  3. c.

    Who did John see Bill?

  4. d.

    The gave Ellen book to Bill.



Lexical Entry Language Faculty External Argument Thematic Role Argument Position 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1988

Authors and Affiliations

  • Karen Zagona
    • 1
  1. 1.Dept. of Romance Languages and LiteratureUniversity of WashingtonSeattleUSA

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