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Title:The Initial Ranking of Faithfulness Constraints in UG
Authors:Mark Hale, Charles Reiss
Abstract: The Initial Ranking of Faithfulness Constraints in UG

ROA-104 19p.

initrank.ps, --.wrd

Mark Hale and Charles Reiss

Concordia University, Montreal

hale1@alcor.concordia.ca, reiss@alcor.concordia.ca

This paper argues that it is a necessary assumption of the theory of the

acquisition of OT phonological systems that faithfulness constraints be

ranked above well-formedness constraints in UG. In Part I we sketch our

conception of what the study of phonological acquisition entails, namely

the acquisition of a language specific ranking of constraints in each OT

component, and the acquisition of a (language specific) lexicon. In Part

II we argue for the strict separation of the study of grammar from the

study of other factors influencing speech production, and thus propose

that childrens speech perception abilities provide much better evidence

for the state of their grammars than their production abilities. In Part

III we argue that the acquisition of a lexicon and the acquisition of the

correct ranking for the target language are intimately related processes,

since positing an underlying representation for a given output entails

positing a ranking of relevant constraints, and the only evidence for

reranking comes from a comparison of surface forms with potential

underlying representations. For this reason, any theory of ranking

acquisition which assumes that the lexicon has already been acquired is

deficient. After showing that neither an assumption of no ranking of

constraints within UG, nor the widely-held view that all well-formedness

constraints are ranked above all faithfulness constraints will allow us

to posit a UG which will let infant learners converge upon a lexicon,

numerous possibilities persist. A very large set of possible preset

rankings, interspersing faithfulness and well-formedness constraints

could be entertained, for example. We argue in Part IV, however, that a

compelling case can be made for the assumption that all faithfulness

constraints are ranked, in UG, above all well-formedness constraints.

Type:Paper/tech report
Article:Version 1