Dmitrieva and Caviglia today for P&P

For the sound-minded and formalism-attuned alike,

Come on by the Greenberg Room (460-126) this Friday at 12:15 for an exciting joint talk:

Olga Dmitrieva (Berkeley, PhD Stanford) & Giulio Caviglia (Purdue)
Convex regions and phonological frequency: Extending the weighted constraints approach.

The currently dominant framework for modeling phonological phenomena, Optimality Theory, provides tools for capturing categorical phonological typology (factorial typology) and can be extended to account for gradient and stochastic phenomena, as well as their frequency. Recently, a competing approach, based on weighted rather than ranked constraints, Harmonic Grammar, has been gaining popularity. In this talk we explore the mathematical bases of Optimality Theory and Harmonic Grammar, the underlying connection between the two and their differences.

We also address the limitations of Optimality Theory compared to weighted constraints approach and the fact that Harmonic Grammar, the currently most developed implementation of the weighted constraints approach does not fully explore the potential of this method.

We then propose a natural extension of the weighted constraints approach, which allows for the development of whole phonological typologies, equivalent to those produced by the factorial typology in standard OT. This method also provides an estimate of the relative frequencies of the possible language types and output types, based on the relative volumes of the convex regions in the weight space.