Ling Lunch 2/27 — Brian Buccola

When: Wednesday 2/27 1:00–2:00 pm in room 117

Who: Brian Buccola

What: A mathematical demonstration that classic Optimality Theory is expressively weaker than ordered rewrite rules

Abstract: I demonstrate mathematically that classic Optimality Theoretic grammars, consisting of just two levels of representation (underlying and surface) and of just two types of constraints (markedness and basic faithfulness), are formally expressively weaker than ordered rewrite rules. That is, under a suitable (and very generous) formalization of what phonologists intuitively consider classic OT, I prove that there are phonological patterns which can be expressed by ordered rewrite rules but which cannot be expressed by any set of classic OT constraints, under any ranking. Moreover, the type of constraint that ends up being required is precisely the type that has been proposed in extensions to classic OT.

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