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Title:The Emergence of the Unmarked Order
Authors:Hanjung Lee
Abstract:The Emergence of the Unmarked Order

Hanjung Lee
Stanford University

One of the most challenging aspects of the analysis of
\'scrambling languages\' like Hindi, Korean and Russian
lies in motivating various possible constituent orders.
In many of the free word order languages, it is also not
uncommon to find fixed word order phenomena. But to date
no general theory has been proposed to explain both the
freedom of word order and the loss of the word order
freedom of constituents, referred to as freezing
(Mohanan and Mohanan 1994). This paper presents an
Optimality Theory (Prince and Smolensky 1993) account
of word order in Korean and Hindi that can account for
both the free ordering and fixed ordering of
constituents. Although discourse prominence has been
recognized as a major factor affecting word order in
these languages, there is another important dimension
that constrains word order independently of discourse
prominence, namely the relative markedness of subjects
and objects. In this paper I show that the OT theory of
markedness provides a fundamental explanation for why
two different types of freezing occur. In particular,
harmonic alignment of prominence hierarchies and local
conjunction of constraints offer exactly the formal
devices needed to capture the complex interactions of
grammatical function, thematic roles, case marking and
linear orders of nominals which underlie \'the worst of
the worst\' type of freezing. It is also shown that by
bidirectional optimization in OT we predict the type of
scrambling resulting in reversal of thematic role
interpretations of two arguments not to occur in
sentences in which the morphology does not distinguish
subject from object or agent from other arguments. These
preliminary results suggest that freezing effects in
Korean and Hindi can be subsumed under the universal
theory of markedness.
Type:Paper/tech report
Article:Version 1