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It's Been Said Before

By Orin Hargraves

It's Been Said Before "examines why certain phrases become clichés and why they should be avoided -- or why they still have life left in them."

New from Cambridge University Press!


Sounds Fascinating

By J. C. Wells

How do you pronounce biopic, synod, and Breughel? - and why? Do our cake and archaic sound the same? Where does the stress go in stalagmite? What's odd about the word epergne? As a finale, the author writes a letter to his 16-year-old self.

Academic Paper

Title: Learning with hidden structure in Optimality Theory and Harmonic Grammar: beyond Robust Interpretive Parsing
Author: Gaja Jarosz
Institution: Yale University
Linguistic Field: Phonology
Abstract: This paper explores the relative merits of constraint ranking vs. weighting in the context of a major outstanding learnability problem in phonology: learning in the face of hidden structure. Specifically, the paper examines a well-known approach to the structural ambiguity problem, Robust Interpretive Parsing (RIP; Tesar & Smolensky ), focusing on its stochastic extension first described by Boersma (). Two related problems with the stochastic formulation of RIP are revealed, rooted in a failure to take full advantage of probabilistic information available in the learner's grammar. To address these problems, two novel parsing strategies are introduced and applied to learning algorithms for both probabilistic ranking and weighting. The novel parsing strategies yield significant improvements in performance, asymmetrically improving performance of OT learners. Once RIP is replaced with the proposed modifications, the apparent advantage of HG over OT learners reported in previous work disappears (Boersma & Pater ).


This article appears IN Phonology Vol. 30, Issue 1.

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