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Title:MOT: Sketch of an OT approach to morphology
Authors:Kevin Russell
Comment:115 pages. PDF file is one-up, PS file is two-up
Abstract:MOT: Sketch of an OT approach to morphology

draft, July 24, 1999

Kevin Russell

University of Manitoba

This sketch presents a unified framework for analyzing morphological

phenomena within Optimality Theory (called, for want of a better term,


OT has been successful at coming up with non-derivational accounts of

individual modules of grammar, especially syntax and phonology. But

the relationship between modules is still usually assumed to be

derivational -- for example, the output of syntax serves as the input

to phonology or morphology. In contrast to this, MOT is based on the

following ideas:

- An OT grammar evaluates all sub-representations (e.g., phonology,

syntax, semantics) in parallel.

- An OT grammar can impose interface constraints on which phonological,

syntactic, and semantic representations can co-occur with each other.

- The information of "lexical entries" is nothing more than specialized

versions of such interface constraints.

- There is no need for the "lexicon" to contain pieces of

representation, such as partial syntactic nodes or phonological

underlying representations.

The sketch shows how such a framework can shed light on many of the

problem cases of morphological theory. Some of the topics discussed

are: the default mapping between syntactic categories and inflection

classes (as argued by Aronoff 1993), regular and irregular inflection,

prosodic morphology (exemplified by Yawelmani), truncatory morphemes

(e.g., navig-ate-able -> navig-able), phonological underspecification,

haplology, head operations, and a synthesis of realizational and

word-syntax approaches to morphology.
Type:Paper/tech report
Article:Version 1