Optimality Theory: Constraint Interaction in Generative Grammar / Edition 1

Paperback (Print)
Buy New
Buy New from BN.com
Used and New from Other Sellers
Used and New from Other Sellers
from $42.20
Usually ships in 1-2 business days
(Save 25%)
Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (12) from $42.20   
  • New (8) from $42.20   
  • Used (4) from $44.99   


This book is the final version of the widely-circulated 1993 Technical Report that introduces a conception of grammar in which well-formedness is defined as optimality with respect to a ranked set of universal constraints.

  • Final version of the widely circulated 1993 Technical Report that was the seminal work in Optimality Theory, never before available in book format.
  • Serves as an excellent introduction to the principles and practice of Optimality Theory.
  • Offers proposals and analytic commentary that suggest many directions for further development for the professional.
Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“This is a very important book. Optimality Theory has transformed the field of linguistics more than almost any other development of the past half-century, and Prince and Smolensky started it all.” John J. McCarthy, University of Massachusetts, Amherst

"OT does not need to permanently influence linguistic theory: it has already done so. Between 1993 and 2004, Prince and Smolensky’s Optimality Theory was by far the most widely circulated manuscript among phonologists. Fortunately, it is now available for a larger audience in this text edition." René Kager, Utrecht University

Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781405119337
  • Publisher: Wiley
  • Publication date: 10/4/2004
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 304
  • Product dimensions: 6.70 (w) x 9.70 (h) x 0.88 (d)

Meet the Author

Alan Prince is Professor of Linguistics and a member of the Cognitive Science Center at Rutgers University and is, along with Paul Smolensky, one of the founders of Optimality Theory. He has published in journals such as Linguistic Inquiry, Science, Cognition, and Critical Inquiry.

Paul Smolensky is Professor of Cognitive Science at Johns Hopkins University. His publications include Learnability in Optimality Theory (with Bruce Tesar, 2000) and Mathematical Perspectives on Neural Networks (edited with Michael Mozer and David Rumelhart, 1996).

Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

Prefactory Note.


1. Preliminaries:.

Background and Overview.


Overall Structure of the Argument.

Overview of Part I.

2. Optimality in Grammar: Core Syllabification in Imdlawn Tashlhiyt Berber:.

The Heart of Dell & Elmedlaoui.

Optimality Theory.

Summary of discussion to date.

3. Generalization-Forms in Domination Hierarchies IBlocking and Triggering: Profuseness and Economy:.

Epenthetic Structure.

Do Something Only When: The Failure of Bottom-up Constructionism.

4. Generalization-Forms in Domination Hierarchies IIDo Something Except When: Blocking, or The Theory of Profuseness:.

Edge-Oriented Infixation.

Interaction of Weight Effects with Extrametricality.

Background: Prominence-Driven Stress Systems.

The Interaction of Weight and Extrametricality: Kelkar’s Hindi/Urdu.

Nonfinality and Nonexhaustiveness.

Nonfinality and the Laws of Foot Form: Raw Minimality.

Nonfinality and the Laws of Foot Form:Extended Minimality Effects.

Summary of Discussion of the Except When Effect.

Except meets Only: Triggering and Blocking in a Single Grammar.

5. The Construction of Grammar in Optimality Theory:.

Construction of Harmonic Orderings from Phonetic and Structural Scales.

The Theory of Constraint Interaction.

Comparison of Entire Candidates by a Single Constraint.

Ons: Binary constraints.

Hnuc: Non-binary constraints.

Comparison of Entire Candidates by an Entire Constraint Hierarchy.


Non-locality of interaction.

Strictness of domination.

Serial vs. Parallel Harmony Evaluation and Gen.

Binary vs. Non-binary constraints.

Pâòini’s Theorem on Constraint Ranking.

Overview of Part II.

6. Syllable Structure Typology I: the CV Theory:.

The Jakobson Typology.

The Faithfulness Interactions.


Basic CV Syllable Theory.



The Theory of Epenthesis Sites.

7. Constraint Interaction in Lardil Phonology:.

The Constraints.

The Ranking.

Some Ranking Logic.

Ranking the Constraints.

Verification of Forms.

Consonant-Final Stems.

Vowel Final Stems.


8. Universal Syllable Theory II: Ordinal Construction of C/V and Onset/Coda Licensing Asymmetry:.

Associational Harmony.

Deconstructing Hnuc: Berber, Take 1.

Restricting to Binary Marks.

Reconstructing the C and V Classes: Emergent Parameter Setting via Constraint Ranking.

Harmonic Completeness of Possible Onsets and Peaks.

Peak- and Margin-Affinity.

Interactions with Parse.

Restricting Deletion and Epenthesis.

Further Necessary Conditions on Possible Onsets and Nuclei.

Sufficient Conditions on Possible Onsets and Nuclei.

The Typology of Onset, Nucleus, and Coda Inventories.

The Typology of Onset and Nucleus Inventories.

Onset/Coda Licensing Asymmetries.

An Example: Berber, Take 2.

Simplifying the Theory by Encapsulating Constraint Packages.

Encapsulating the Association Hierarchies.

An Example: Berber, Take 3.

Sufficiency and Richness of the Encapsulated Theory.

9. Inventory Theory and the Lexicon:.

Language-Particular Inventories.

Harmonic Bounding and Nucleus, Syllable, and Word Inventories.

Segmental Inventories.

Universal Inventories.

Segmental Inventories.

Syllabic Inventories.

Optimality in the Lexicon.

10. Foundational Issues and Theory-Comparisons:.

Thinking about Optimality.

Fear of Optimization.

The Reassurance.

The Connectionism Connection, and other Computation-based Comparisons.

Why Optimality Theory has nothing to do with connectionism.

Why Optimality Theory is deeply connected to connectionism.

Harmony Maximization and Symbolic Cognition.

Analysis of ‘Phonotactics+Repair’ Theories.

CV Syllable Structure and Repair.

General Structure of the Comparisons: Repair Analysis.

Persistent Rule Theory.

English Closed Syllable Shortening.

Shona Tone Spreading.


The Theory of Constraints and Repair Strategies.


A.1 The Cancellation and Cancellation/Domination Lemmas.

A.2 CV Syllable Structure.

A.3 Pâòini's Theorem on Constraint-ranking.


Index of Constraints.

Index of Languages.

General Index

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)