Workshop on
Parameters and Typology: Hierarchies, Features, and UG

27 February 2009 – Arizona State University – Tempe, AZ


On 27 February 2009, there will be a workshop at ASU centered around an invited lecture by Mark Baker. There will be other talks on the place of parameters within the Minimalist Program and different formulations of parameters within the current feature-based framework.

Click for poster ; click for program

Travel to ASU

Air: ASU is 10-minutes away from the airport in Phoenix, known as Sky Harbor Airport. Many hotels have shuttles; check with them! There are also taxis and the NEW lightrail.

Car: Click for Driving Directions; parking is available in the Fulton center, NE corner of University and College.


The Workshop will be held in the Language and Lit Building on the SE corner of University and College. The talks will be in LL 316. Map of ASU: LL building in 4C.


Hotels: Holiday Inn; Twin Palms; Comfort Inn; and Courtyard Marriot. There is no special rate.

Registration: on site; NO fee. We will reserve hotel rooms for presenters and pay for them (let us know). Dinner on Friday is free for particpants.

Some background.

Within the Minimalist Program, there are currently two lines of thought where parameters are concerned. Baker (2001; 2008), on the one hand, has suggested macro-parameters: following Sapir, Baker argues that a language has a basic character. Thus, the choice of polysynthesis, for example, implies that the language will have many other characteristics. Chomsky (e.g. 2008) attributes as little as possible to the role of parameters and of UG in general. Minimalist parameters now (Chomsky 2004; 2006) consist of choices of feature specifications as the child acquires a lexicon. All parameters are lexical and determine linearization; therefore, they account for the variety of languages. Initially, many principles were also attributed to UG.At he moment, however, the emphasis is on principles not specific to the language faculty (UG), but to "general properties of organic systems" (Chomsky 2004: 105), ‘third factor principles' in Chomsky (2005; 2006).