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Title:Syncretism without Underspecification in Optimality Theory: The Role of Leading Forms
Authors:Gereon Mueller
Abstract:The main goal of this article is to outline a new approach to syncretism in optimality theory, one that does not rely on tools like underspecification or rules of referral that are taken over from grammatical theories which do not recognize constraint ranking and constraint violability. The analysis is based on a concept of morphological exponents as leading forms. Instances of syncretism can be traced back to the selection of unfaithful leading forms as a last resort to avoid paradigmatic gaps: The minimally unfaithful leading form exponent spreads to an empty paradigm cell. Three well-studied empirical domains figure in the analysis: (i) determiner inflection in German (Bierwisch:67, Wiese:99), (ii) Italian object clitics (Grimshaw:01), and (iii) animacy effects with noun inflection in Russian (Wunderlich:04).
Type:Paper/tech report
Article:Version 1