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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).
Type:Paper/tech report
Article:Version 1