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Title:Output-Output Correspondence in Optimality Theory
Authors:Mark Hale, Madelyn Kissock, Charles Reiss
Comment:14pp. To appear in Proceedings of WCCFL XVI
Abstract: Output-output correspondence (OOC) constraints,

constraints which demand correspondence between

independently occurring surface forms, have recently

been added to the set of constraint types invoked in

much OT work. In this paper we examine some of the

better-known arguments originally adduced in support

of OOC constraints, and argue that adoption of such a

powerful mechanism is not justified, at least in the

cases discussed.

This paper deals specifically with the following:

the incomplete/complete phase distinction of Rotuman,

as analyzed by McCarthy (1995); English truncated

hypocoristics, as discussed by Benua (1995); and the

treatment of Base Identity and Uniform Exponence in

Kenstowicz (1994).

Three criticisms are leveled at the OOC-based

analyses cited above. First, we find cases of

'opportunism.' For example, there is an unprincipled

culling of the data and an unprincipled choice of bases

in correspondence relations. Second, there is

misanalysis, in that clearly significant generalizations

are overlooked, technical aspects of the theory are

improperly treated and implausible generalizations are

accepted. Third, we believe that the analyses based on

OOC lead to problematic predictions, some of which are

strongly contraindicated by existing data, and others of

which we consider highly suspect. We offer simple,

principled solutions which we hope will contribute to a

more constrained theory of phonology--one that perhaps

has no place for OOC.

The main example we discuss is McCarthy's (1995)

study of Rotuman metathesis--a cover term for morphemic

alternations of the type in (1) termed by Churchward (1940)

'complete/incomplete phase.'


Complete Incomplete

pure puer

titi'u titi'

McCarthy followed, in its basic outlines, the original

analysis of Churchward (1940) in attributing the synchronic

conditions on metathesis to "syntactico-semantic principles".

However, a detailed study of the conditions on incomplete

phase formation in Rotuman reveals that "syntactico-semantic

principles" are not involved in these alternations. Instead,

we show that the phases are PHONOLOGICALLY conditioned.

Producing the phases via output-output correspondence fails

to capture the correct, purely phonological conditioning of

the phases. Such an analysis also ignores an additional

alternation in Rotuman roots known as 'broad' and 'narrow'

versions. We show that there is no principled way of selecting

a base for output-output correspondence in Rotuman if one wants

to account for both the incomplete/complete and broad/narrow


In the conclusion to a later paper, Kenstowicz (1995:433)

raises some fundamental questions regarding the use of OOC.

"Can [OOC] be restricted to situations in which one structure

is a substring of the other? Or should we allow identity

constraints to hold among a family of related words, e.g. to

get the effects of paradigm leveling?" Kenstowicz goes on to

note the vagueness of terms like ' family of related words'

and 'isolation form'. Clearly, these terms need to be defined

in order to select a base against which identity can be evaluated.

As far as we can tell, these fundamental questions have yet to

receive a satisfactory solution in the literature. The failings

of the specific cases of OOC which we discuss, those of McCarthy,

Benua and Kenstowicz, are related to the absence of clear guiding

principles concerning these fundamental questions. If phonological

theory wishes to be constrained by standards of explicitness and

rigor, OOC should be eschewed until these fundamental questions

receive a more satisfactory treatment.
Type:Paper/tech report
Article:Version 1