Theiling Online    Sitemap    Conlang Mailing List HQ   

Re: THEORY: OT Syntax

From:jesse stephen bangs <jaspax@...>
Date:Tuesday, November 21, 2000, 20:12
dirk elzinga sikayal:

> On Sun, 19 Nov 2000, jesse stephen bangs wrote: > > > Marcus Smith sikayal: > > > > > That depends on your theory of "Gen". Prince and Smolensky actually provide > > > two different models. One - the one nearly everybody uses - generates all > > > possible forms, then selects the most "optimal" form based on the > > > constraints. The other only generates the forms relevant for the next > > > > Huh? This implies that Native Speaker X, before he says anything, stops > > to generate every single conceivable combination of words and then applies > > a bunch of constraints to rule out all of the illegal forms. That gets > > impossible pretty fast. Do I misunderstand "Gen"? > > Not at all, but you misunderstand perhaps what OT is. It is not > intended to be a model of Natural Language Processing, so there is no > serious claim that speakers actually generate all possible forms. OT > is intended to be a model of linguistic competence. That is, the > output of an OT grammar should accord with native speaker intuitions > about what constitutes a grammatical utterance. This, BTW, is the > standard set up for generative grammars in general.
Hmmm. I suppose I can accept OT as a model of competence, but my instinct is to say "Nu ma intereseaza" (I don't care) because I prefer to think of linguistic models as processing models. This requires a fair bit of hubris, but I find a non-production model of linguistics to be rather pointless. It may suffice for an interim stage, but I wouldn't want to waste a lot of research on what I think of as a dead end. And I still don't see what (aside from academic jealousy) prevents the formation of a model that includes both constraints and transformations.
> > This seems reasonable, at least with respect to syntax. I don't quite see > > how this would work with phonology. > > It would work in the same way. You take an underlying representation, > and generate all possible forms which are "one step" away from the UR. > You then evaluate these forms according to the constraint set. The > winner is then subjected to the same process; generate all possible > candidates which are one step away from the input and run it through > the constraint set. Keep doing this until the grammar converges (until > the steps of UR-Generate-Evaluate fail to produce anything better).
Ah, so you still have an underlying form. That was what I wondered about, because otherwise phonology becomes nonsensical.
> > Actually, I'm still quite confused about the theoretical framework for > > OT. How does the whole process get started? Is there some sort of > > maximally unmarked phrase structure to generate forms to choose from? Are > > sentences generated at random until one comes out right? The examples of > > more complex analyses that I've seen are valid, but the basic baffle me. > > This is the big question that everyone seems to be tiptoeing around in > OT syntax; what is the nature of the input? I'm not sure if anyone has > answered the question satisfactorily.
Hence my repeated call for a combination rule-and-constraint grammar. (Wondering about possible theses many years down the road,if I decide to pursue my doctorate. . . .)
> > Dirk > > -- > Dirk Elzinga > >
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_