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Linguistic Inquiry

Spring 2016, Vol. 47, No. 2, Pages 235-282
(doi: 10.1162/LING_a_00210)
© 2016 Massachusetts Institute of Technology
On Evaluation Metrics in Optimality Theory
Article PDF (1.86 MB)

We develop an evaluation metric for Optimality Theory that allows a learner to induce a lexicon and a phonological grammar from unanalyzed surface forms. We wish to model aspects of knowledge such as the English-speaking child’s knowledge that the aspiration of the first segment of khæt is predictable and the French-speaking child’s knowledge that the final l of table ‘table’ is optional and can be deleted while that of parle ‘speak’ cannot. We show that the learner we present succeeds in obtaining this kind of knowledge and is better equipped to do so than other existing learners in the literature.