Learnability in Optimality Theory

Hardcover (Print)
Buy New
Buy New from BN.com
Used and New from Other Sellers
Used and New from Other Sellers
from $5.91
Usually ships in 1-2 business days
(Save 80%)
Other sellers (Hardcover)
  • All (13) from $5.91   
  • New (5) from $16.95   
  • Used (8) from $5.91   


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.

Read More Show Less

What People Are Saying

From the Publisher
"This work represents what is arguably the most clear-minded and far-reaching current research program on the applications of formal learning theory to the problem of language acquisition." Stefano Bertolo, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Stefano Bertolo
This work represents what is arguably the most clear-minded and far-reaching current research program on the applications of formal learning theory to the problem of language acquisition.
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780262201261
  • Publisher: MIT Press
  • Publication date: 5/8/2000
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 148
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Paul Smolensky is Professor of Cognitive Science at Johns Hopkins University. He was a leading member of the PDP connectionist research group, and is the recipient of the 2005 David E. Rumelhart Prize in Cognitive Science, which is awarded annually to an individual or collaborative team making a significant contribution to the formal analysis of human cognition.

Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

1 Language Learning
1.1 What This Books Is About
1.2 Learnability and Universal Grammar
1.3 Decomposing the Learning Problem
1.4 Outline of the Book
2 An Overview of Optimality Theory
2.1 Constraints and Their Violation
2.2 Optimality and Harmonic Ordering
2.3 The Grammar Learning Problem
3 Constraint Demotion
3.1 The Principle of Constraint Demotion
3.2 Analysis of Constraint Demotion
3.3 ErrorDriven Constraint Demotion
4 Overcoming Ambiguity in Overt Forms
4.1 An Optimality Theoretic System of Stress Grammars
4.2 Robust Interpretive Parsing
4.3 The RIP/CD Learning Procedure
4.4 Getting Stuck: How RIP/CD Can Fail
4.5 Simulation Results: Metrical Stress
4.6 Discussion
5 Issues in Language Learning
5.1 The Subset Principle, Richness of the Base, and Acquisition
5.2 Learning Underlying Forms
6 Learnability and Linguistic Theory
6.1 Parametric Independence and Linguistic Explanation
6.2 Summary
7 Correctness and Data Complexity of Constraint
7.1 Stratified Hierarchies
7.2 The Target Stratified Hierarchy
7.3 Constraint Demotion
7.4 Extension to Arbitrary Initial Hierarchies
7.5 ErrorDriven Constraint Demotion
7.6 Recursive Constraint Demotion
8 ProductionDirected Parsing
8.1 The Parsing Problem in Optimality Theory
8.2 Formalizing CVT
8.3 Parsing with CVT
8.4 A Sample Parse
8.5 Interpretive Parsing
8.6 Discussion
8.7 The Rest of the Operations Set
Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star


4 Star


3 Star


2 Star


1 Star


Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation


  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)