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 Elzinga
Jesse S. Bangs firstname.lastname@example.org
"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_