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Title:The Partitive Constraint in Optimality Theory
Authors:Arto Anttila, Vivienne Fong
Abstract:The Partitive Constraint in Optimality Theory

Arto Anttila

Boston University / National University of Singapore

Vivienne Fong

National University of Singapore

This paper discusses a case of syntax/semantics interaction of a

characteristically optimality-theoretic kind. Finnish partitive

constructions exhibit a case alternation that is partly semantically,

partly syntactically driven. The crucial semantic condition that plays

a role in case selection is quantitative determinacy, which replaces

the definiteness condition familiar from the Partitive Constraint. The

crucial syntactic condition is the Case-OCP which prohibits the

assignment of the same case to both the head and its sister. The

syntactic and semantic constraints conflict which leads to various

kinds of outcomes, including free variation and ambiguity, as well as

preferences in expression and preferences in interpretation. We

develop an optimality-theoretic analysis of these facts based on

partially ordered optimality-theoretic grammars. In such grammars,

conflicts among semantic and syntactic constraints are resolved in

terms of ranking. Partial ordering is crucial in deriving preferences

in expression as well as interpretation, including blocking effects.
Type:Paper/tech report
Article:Version 1