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Title:The Odd-Parity Parsing Problem
Authors:Brett Hyde
Abstract:The Odd-Parity Parsing Problem is a collection of difficulties that arise in Weak Layering (Itô and Mester 1992) accounts when parsing an odd-parity form into binary feet. It can be usefully divided into two sub-problems. The first sub-problem, the Odd Heavy Problem, arises when parsing and minimality requirements can be satisfied simultaneously by parsing an odd-numbered heavy syllable as a monosyllabic foot. The result is a peculiar type of quantity-sensitivity where parsing is sensitive to the weight of odd-numbered syllables in odd-parity forms. The second sub-problem, the Even-Only Problem, arises when parsing and minimality requirements can be satisfied simultaneously at the expense of faithfulness requirements. A single syllable is added to or subtracted from an odd-parity input to make it even-parity on the surface. The result is a language that only allows even-parity surface forms.

This paper focuses on the manifestations of the Odd Heavy Problem in three OT accounts, Symmetrical Alignment (McCarthy and Prince 1993), Asymmetrical Alignment (Alber 2005), and Rhythmic Licensing (Kager 2001, 2005), and compares them to the manifestation of the OHP in a simplified version of the serial account of Hayes (1995). In examining these different proposals, we can identify the source of the OHP as the Weak Layering assumptions shared by each of them and rule out potential alternatives, such as constraint interaction, global evaluation, or particular approaches to directional parsing effects. Once the structural nature of the problem is established, I then demonstrate how it is possible to provide a structural solution. An account based on the Weak Bracketing assumptions of Hyde (2001, 2002) avoids the Odd-Parity Parsing Problem altogether.

A second purpose in comparing the manifestations of the OHP that emerge in the three OT accounts is to assess the effectiveness of the different approaches to directional parsing. Though the effects of the OHP emerge in all three, they become increasingly exotic as the role of alignment constraints is diminished and the role of restrictions on clash and lapse is enhanced. Although there has been much criticism of alignment constraints in the recent literature (Eisner 1997, Kager 2001, McCarthy 2003), they have a distinct advantage in this context. For those who remain unconvinced that the OHP is an insurmountable problem for Weak Layering approaches, an account that relies heavily on alignment constraints would seem to be most promising in terms of minimizing its effects.
Type:Paper/tech report
Article:Version 1