|Title:||MOT: Sketch of an OT approach to morphology|
|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
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
- 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
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.