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Title:Formal and Empirical Arguments Concerning Phonological Acquisition
Authors:Mark Hale, Charles Reiss
Comment:29 pages. To appear in LI. Replaces ROA 170
Abstract:This paper draws on the generative literature in phonological

acquisition, as well as on the work of phoneticians and

psycholinguistics, in an attempt to propose a unified view of the

acquisition of phonological competence. We start with an

examination of the Optimality Theoretic (OT) account of the well-

known comprehension/production dilemma in child language given

by Smolensky (1996ab). We will argue that S's model encounters

two related serious difficulties - the first concerning his proposed

parsing algorithm and the second concerning the issue of the

learnability of underlying forms. We offer alternative parsing

algorithms and examine their implications for learnability and the

initial ranking of OT constraints. We also propose, based

on evidence from a variety of sources, that the resolution of the

comprehension/production dilemma lies not in phonological domain

(linguistic competence), but rather in the domain of implementation

of linguistic knowledge (performance). With a revision of certain

aspects of the OT model for children's phonologies and of

learnability theory in phonology, the paper attempts to contribute

both to research on OT and to the study of phonological acquisition


This paper replaces ROA-170, ROA-132, and ROA-104. The easiest

format to read and print online is the .pdf file. A free Acrobat

Reader 3.0 is available at www.adobe.com.


Smolensky, Paul. 1996a. On the comprehension/production

dilemma in child language. LI 27.

Smolensky, Paul. 1996b. The Richness of the Base. ROA.
Type:Paper/tech report
Article:Version 1