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Re: THEORY: OT Syntax (Was: Re: THEORY: phonemes and Optimality Theory tutorial)

From:jesse stephen bangs <jaspax@...>
Date:Wednesday, November 15, 2000, 20:28
Marcus Smith sikayal:

> Jesse S. Bangs wrote: > > > > As a syntactician I take offense to you claiming it is a "phonological > > > theory". :) It works quite well for syntax too. > > > >I don't know any OT related to syntax. Please share. > > I'll explain by illustration of deriving Wh-questions in English. The > basic problem. You have a pair of sentences like: > > Mary saw a man. > Who did Mary see? > [snipping excellent description] > > | WH-initial | Q-head | Stay > ->Who did Mary see? | | | ** > Who Mary did see? | | *! | * > Did Mary see who? | *! | | * > Mary did see who? | *! | * |
Huh. One of the first advantages of OT that was touted to me was the lack of ordered rules, rule ordering deemed to be unnatural. You obviously do have ordered (or ranked) rules, though. Where in this analysis does the "did" come from, since there is none in the declarative form "Mary saw a man"? How do you account for the past tense movement?
> > We can simply rearrange the order of these constraints to get other > language types. Say, Japanese, Korean, and Chinese have question markers > but no wh-movement. So we put WH-initial below Stay, and there you go, > languages that have question markers at the head of the sentence, but the > Wh-pronoun stays in place.
Does OT make significant claims to be "universal," then?
> > For all of you who may have been brainwashed into believing that Minimalism > is the only way to go, I'll just mention that OT and Minimalism have very > similar conceptual bases, they just differ in their formalism. > > And to be fair, for all of you who have been brainwashed into believing > that Minimalism is the Anti-Christ, Minimalism is one of three theories of > syntax that have been shown to be learnable, the other two being Tree > Ajoining Grammar and Categorial Grammar. The jury is still out on OT, and > all the rest (Transformational Grammar, Lexical Function Grammar, HPSG, > Role and Reference Grammar, etc) have been proved to be unlearnable. > Chomsky was not happy to hear that about his theory. :-)
Learnable by who/what? I seem to have learned Transformational Grammar just fine, although I find it a bit copious.
> > =============================== > Marcus Smith > AIM: Anaakoot > "When you lose a language, it's like > dropping a bomb on a museum." > -- Kenneth Hale > =============================== >
Jesse S. Bangs "It is of the new things that men tire--of fashions and proposals and improvements and change. It is the old things that startle and intoxicate. It is the old things that are young." -G.K. Chesterton _The Napoleon of Notting Hill_