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Ask-A-Linguist Message Details
|Subject:||what is emergence of the unmarked|
|Question:||Hello, I was at a dinner party a few days ago and someone made a joke with the emergence of the unmarked and everyone laughed but as I am not a linguist, I didn't understand. I tried to look it up on-line (on sites like Wikipedia) but it was still over my head. Will you help me please? Thank you, Becca Baker|
|Reply:||"Unmarked" in some contexts means "default" or expected. Unmarked items are frequent within one language and frequent across the world's languages; An unmarked 5-vowel system would be i e a o u. A marked vowel system might be æ a ö,u, ū. IN Optimality Theory surface forms (what's actually pronounced) are derived via a competition among constraints. It is a tenet of OT that the competition among constraints results in a form that is relatively unmarked. Did anyone laugh at the joke?|
|Reply From:||Susan D Fischer click here to access email|