LINGUIST List 11.1746

Mon Aug 14 2000

Books: Optimality Theory

Editor for this issue: Scott Fults <>

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  1. Jud Wolfskill, Learnability in Optimality Theory, B. Tesar & P. Smolensky

Message 1: Learnability in Optimality Theory, B. Tesar & P. Smolensky

Date: Fri, 11 Aug 2000 13:48:19 -0400
From: Jud Wolfskill <wolfskilMIT.EDU>
Subject: Learnability in Optimality Theory, B. Tesar & P. Smolensky

The following is a book which readers of this list might find of
interest. For more information please visit

Learnability in Optimality Theory
Bruce Tesar and Paul Smolensky

Highlighting the close relationship between linguistic explanation and
learnability, Bruce Tesar and Paul Smolensky examine the implications
of Optimality Theory (OT) for language learnability. They show how the
core principles of OT lead to the learning principle of constraint
demotion, the basis for a family of algorithms that infer constraint
rankings from linguistic forms.

Of primary concern to the authors are the ambiguity of the data
received by the learner and the resulting interdependence of the core
grammar and the structural analysis of overt linguistic forms. The
authors argue that iterative approaches to interdependencies, inspired
by work in statistical learning theory, can be successfully adapted to
address the interdependencies of language learning. Both OT and
Constraint Demotion play critical roles in their adaptation. The
authors support their findings both formally and through
simulations. They also illustrate how their approach could be extended
to other language learning issues, including subset relations and the
learning of phonological underlying forms.

Bruce Tesar is Assistant Professor of Linguistics at Rutgers
University. Paul Smolensky is Professor of Cognitive Science and
Assistant Director of the Center for Speech and Language Processing at
Johns Hopkins University.

6 x 9, 172 pp., 3 illus., cloth ISBN 0-262-20126-7

 | Jud Wolfskill
 ||||||| Associate Publicist Phone: (617) 253-2079
 ||||||| MIT Press Fax: (617) 253-1709
 ||||||| Five Cambridge Center E-mail:
 | Cambridge, MA 02142-1493

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Monday, July 17, 2000