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Title:A note on the construction of complex OT constraints by material implication
Authors:Matthew Wolf
Abstract:Smolensky (1995) proposes that OT include a mechanism of local conjunction to construct complex constraints from simpler ones. While local conjunction has come to enjoy relatively widespread acceptance, much less attention has been paid to the consequences (for good or ill) of allowing other mechanisms for creating complex constraints.

Archangeli, Moll, & Ohno (1998) and Balari, Marín, & Vallverdú (2000) (the latter modifying a somewhat different proposal in Crowhurst & Hewitt 1997) propose that OT requires a complex-constraint connective with the semantics of classical material implication, wherein constraint satisfaction is understood as corresponding to truth and constraint violation as corresponding to falsehood.

This squib shows that a material-implication connective for OT constraints would have the undesirable consequence of allowing OT to model circular chain shifts on the input-output dimension. As such chain shifts are unattested, at least in phonology (Anderson & Browne 1973 et seq.), this suggests that proposals for a material implication connective are to be eschewed.
Type:Paper/tech report
Area/Keywords:Formal Analysis,Phonology
Article:Version 1