|Title:||Less than zero: Correspondence and the null output|
|Authors:||John J. McCarthy, Matthew Wolf|
|Abstract:||A central property of Optimality Theory is competition (Prince and Smolensky 2004). GEN associates an array of candidate output forms with each input, and these candidates compete against one another. EVAL chooses the winner of this competition.
But what if some input has no output, as in the case of paradigmatic gaps? What candidate is the winner of the competition? Prince & Smolensky (2004: 57ff.) propose a solution to this problem: the gap is itself a candidate for every input. Under the appropriate conditions, the gap will be able to win like any other (non-harmonically bounded) candidate. The gap candidate ï¿½ which they refer to as the null parse ï¿½ is taken to violate only a single constraint, named MPARSE.
Our primary goal in this paper is to rationalize the properties of the null parse. In particular, how is it possible for this candidate to violate only MPARSE and satisfy all faithfulness and markedness constraints? We argue for a revision of the theory of correspondence (McCarthy and Prince 1995, 1999) from which the null output'ï¿½s faithfulness status follows automatically, and we also explain why it violates no markedness constraints.