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A Thematic Guide to Optimality Theory

Part of Research Surveys in Linguistics

  • Date Published: January 2011
  • availability: This ISBN is for an eBook version which is distributed on our behalf by a third party.
  • format: Adobe eBook Reader
  • isbn: 9780511826108

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About the Authors
  • This book describes Optimality Theory from the top down, explaining and exploring the central premises of OT and the results of their praxis. Examples are drawn from phonology, morphology, and syntax, but the emphasis throughout is on the theory rather than the examples, on understanding what is special about OT and on equipping readers to apply it, extend it, and critique it in their own areas of interest. To enhance the book's usefulness for researchers in allied disciplines, the topdown view of OT extends to work on first- and second-language acquisition, phonetics and functional phonology, computational linguistics, historical linguistics, and sociolinguistics. Furthermore, to situate OT for those coming from other traditions, this book also contains much discussion of OT's intellectual origins, its predecessors, and its contemporary competitors. Each chapter concludes with extensive suggestions for further reading, classified by topics, and supplemented by a massive bibliography (over 800 items). The book ends with a list of frequently asked questions about Optimality Theory, with brief answers and pointers to a fuller treatment in the text.

    • Offers a top-down approach to Optimality Theory, describing the theory's premises and the results they yield
    • Uses examples from phonology, morphology, and syntax, with attention to the interests of specialists in these and other fields
    • Includes an immense bibliography (over 800 items), topically organized suggestions for further reading, and a list of frequently asked questions
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'The most attractive virtue of this book is that it is designed to be user-friendly … I believe that this book makes a considerable contribution to the field … we would like to welcome this book as a textbook or an adjunct to another textbook or a reference.' Studies in English Literature

    'Overall, McCarthy's Thematic Guide to OT is an excellent research survey that I highly recommend to schoalrs and graduate students interested in phonology and in linguistic science in general … McCarthy's Guide, thus, should be considered a remarkable attempt to offer a global perspective on Optimality Theory as a model of Universal Grammar.' Canadian Journal of Linguistics

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    Product details

    • Date Published: January 2011
    • format: Adobe eBook Reader
    • isbn: 9780511826108
    • contains: 127 b/w illus.
    • availability: This ISBN is for an eBook version which is distributed on our behalf by a third party.
  • Table of Contents

    Introduction: an overview of optimality theory
    Part I. Core:
    1. Basic architecture
    2. Constraint typology
    3. Modes of interaction
    4. Illustration
    Part II. Context:
    5. Classic generative phonology
    6. Conspiracies
    7. Representations and constraints on representations
    8. Other constraint theories (TCRS, DP, etc.)
    Part III. Results:
    9. Endogenous constraints
    10. Consequences of markedness/faithfulness interaction
    11. Consequences of constraint violability
    12. Consequences of parallelism
    Part IV. Connections:
    13. Learnability and acquisition
    14. Parsing
    Morphology and the lexicon
    15. Syntax and semantics
    16. Language variation and change
    Part V. Issues and prospects:
    17. Functionalism
    18. Opacity
    19. Serial OT
    20. Local conjunction
    21. 'Overkill'
    22. Other topics.

  • Author

    John J. McCarthy, University of Massachusetts, Amherst

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