The Weekly Newsletter of MIT Linguistics

Phonology Circle 4/5 - Anne-Michelle Tessier (University of Alberta)

Speaker: Anne-Michelle Tessier (University of Alberta)
Title: Learning Restrictively in Harmonic Serialism
Time: Tuesday 4/5, 5-6pm, 32-D831

This talk provides an initial attempt at a theory of restrictive error-driven learning for Harmonic Serialism grammars (as originally proposed in Prince and Smolensky 1993, but more so McCarthy 2000, 2008ab, Pruitt 2010 and others.) Harmonic Serialism (HS) is a derivational variant of OT with some compelling advantages for capturing phonological typology — but if HS is going to be a good theory of phonology, it requires a good theory of HS learning. In the talk, I will present a view of how existing OT ranking algorithms (Prince and Tesar 2004, Hayes 2004) can be adapted fairly simply to learn HS grammars, including those rankings that are ‘hidden’ from the learner and arise crucially from the workings of HS. I also point out that to successfully learn hidden rankings, the HS learner must be guided to learn unfaithful URs in a particular way, providing an interesting and unresolved challenge.

Upcoming talks:
Apr 12: Ricardo Bermudez-Otero
Apr 13: WCCFL Practice Talks ***Time TBA
Apr 26: Jongho Jun
May 3: Nina Topintzi
May 10: RUMMIT practice talks

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