Hidden Generalizations is the first monograph devoted exclusively to the
problem of phonological opacity. Opacity arises when the conditions for or
results of an active phonological process are not evident in the speech
signal. Opacity is particularly important in Optimality Theory, which lacks
the standard means of analyzing opacity, rule ordering.
This book is a thorough reexamination of phonological opacity. It finds
insights in the extensive literature on rule interaction of the 1970's. It
describes and critiques the oft-voiced opinion that there are no authentic
cases of opacity. It evaluates representational approaches to opacity that
emerged in the 1980's. Primarily, though, it discusses various ideas about
opacity in OT and offers a new proposal, candidate chain theory. This
proposal is illustrated and tested with analyses of the phonology of
several Semitic languages.