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Title:Have Faith in Syntax
Authors:Edward Keer, Eric Bakovic
Comment:Appeared in Proceedings of WCCFL 16, 1997.
Abstract:In this paper we argue that syntactic optionality is best understood in Optimality Theory in terms of faithfulness constraints regulating input-output disparity with respect to purely formal properties of syntactic structures. Specifically, we propose that the three forms of object relative clause in English shown in (a-c) below are the result of high-ranking faithfulness to a formal property we call "operator type". Any structural output constraints violated by the three forms are overridden in the typical Optimality-theoretic way by higher-ranked faithfulness.

a. the man who Bill saw
b. the man that Bill saw
c. the man Bill saw

The absence of the equivalent of (a) in Norwegian is then argued to be the result of lower-ranking faithfulness. We explore some consequences of this particular analysis, including the factorial typology of the constraints employed, and contrast this faithfulness approach to optionality with two other approaches in the OT Syntax literature. We conclude that the faithfulness approach is more satisfactory than other approaches, both empirically and theoretically.
Type:Paper/tech report
Article:Version 1