Bidirectional Optimality Theory by Anton Benz, Jason Mattausch

By Anton Benz, Jason Mattausch

Bidirectional Optimality Theory (BiOT) emerged on the flip of the millennium as a fusion of Radical Pragmatics and Optimality Theoretic Semantics. It stirred a wealth of latest study within the pragmatics‑semantics interface and seriously inspired e.g. the advance of evolutionary and video game theoretic ways. Optimality concept holds that linguistic output could be understood because the optimized items of ranked constraints. on the centre of BiOT is the perception that this optimisation has to happen either in construction and interpretation, and that the production-interpretation cycle has to guide again to the unique enter. BiOT is now more often than not interpreted as an outline of diachronically solid and cognitively optimum form–meaning pairs. It came across purposes past the semantics-pragmatics interface in language acquisition, ancient linguistics, phonology, syntax, and typology. This publication offers a state-of-the-art evaluate of those advancements. It collects 9 chapters via major scientists within the box.

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Sample text

The forward-pointing finger (“”) marks the candidate that would win in the production direction if nothing more than the ‘correct’ underlying form |anâ•›+â•›pa| were given. This form is shared by candidates 1, 2, and 3, and candidate 2 is the most harmonic of these. /. There is obviously only one candidate that shares both forms, namely candidate 1, so candidate 1 is immediately the most harmonic of all such candidates. The interpretation of the arrows in (3) is as follows. The candidate with the check mark is regarded by the learner as the correct candidate.

So that all three remain as comprehension candidates, to be disambiguated higher up by syntactic, semantic, and pragmatic processing. Thus, although Hale & Reiss criticize OT for not handling comprehension well, their own proposal does have to work with lists of candidates, as OT does. Not surprisingly, then, the problem with Smolensky’s proposal turns out not to be a problem with bidirectionality or OT, but a problem with the number of levels considered. Within bidirectional OT, the solution is to allow the phonology to interact with the independently needed higher levels, such as the semantics.

The first paper ‘A programme for bidirectional phonology and phonetics and their acquisition and evolution’ by Paul Boersma outlines a general architecture for bidirectional OT grammar meant to provide a means of explanation for phenomena in the four major areas of phonological research: (i) articulation/ production, (ii) audition/comprehension, (iii) acquisition, and (iv) evolution. e. those which mediate between an underlying representation and  Anton Benz & Jason Mattausch a surface form, and a suggestion of how those weaknesses could be ameliorated by incorporating phonetic/articulatory constraints on the one hand, and lexical/ semantic constraints on the other, Boersma pursues more detailed discussions of (a) phonetic articulation and audition (and their interrelation), (b) the interaction of phonology and phonetics (which includes various interrelations between four levels: articulatory form, auditory form, underlying form, and surface form), and (c) the lexico-semantic level of representation and its relationship with phonology.

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