|Title:||NC: Licensing and Underspecification in Optimality Theory|
|Authors:||Junko Ito, Armin Mester, Jaye Padgett|
|Abstract:||NC: Licensing and Underspecification in Optimality Theory
Junko Ito, Armin Mester, Jaye Padgett
University of California, Santa Cruz
In recent years the program of feature underspecification has come
under intense critical scrutiny, with various empirical difficulties
and apparent paradoxes leading some to abandon the use of
underspecification altogether. This paper instead seeks to resolve
one sort of underspecification paradox, exemplified by facts of
voicing in Japanese, by harnessing the notions of constraint ranking
and violability provided by Optimality Theory.
Though output underspecification is maintained, it does not
pattern in the all-or- nothing way predicted by known theories;
further, it reveals itself as an emergent property of the grammar,
thus leading to a rejection of the traditional reliance on a feature
minimization imperative at the underlying representation, a notion
that is not compatible with OT's output-oriented outlook.
The empirical focus is post-nasal voicing; major issues
addressed include a theory of feature licensing, the claim that
segment similarity can constrain feature interaction, and the explicit
extension of tableau-based candidate selection to Lexicon Optimization
('tableau des tableaux' technique).