Talk:Optimality Theory/Archive 1

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Making changes

Hey Guys! I've decided to have a shot at expanding this article a bit and I'll probably have to change what is written quite a bit. This is just because it is written in a sort of concise way, not because it sounds bad at all. Please feel free to revert back if you don't like it. AnandaLima 01:24, 12 Jun 2004 (UTC)

I've added a bunch more to the criticism section. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:47, 9 October 2007 (UTC)

I've updated the references, and removed the thing asking for them to be refined. Here's the quote:

"Inline citations are needed for the whole thing. Not only the criticism, but also the criticism of the criticism must be attributed to sources, otherwise this could be a breach of WP:NOR. Also, much of the criticism of the criticism is presented here as "the truth" instead of merely being mentioned and attributed. This would only be appropriate if it cited sources showing clearly that this "truth" is the absolutely predominant opinion in academia. This must be made sure before the article takes a side in a intra-scholarly controversy, all the more so as living classics such as Chomsky and Halle are being accused of "fundamental misunderstanding"."

I've put in citations for most of the 'criticism of the criticism', where they're available. For Chomsky's (1995) bit about [ba], there aren't any refutations in print; this is probably because his assertion is buried in a footnote and there's no evidence given with it. But, it's similar to the argument by Halle (1995) in the same paragraph, and it's not a legitimate objection, given how OT works (as defined in this article).

If the other unsourced criticisms shouldn't be here, someone can remove them. I'm leaving them here, because they're common arguments, even if they're not made in print. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:29, 18 February 2008 (UTC)


Ok, I've added some more text to the stub (is it still a stub?). Changes very welcome though: I tried to keep it simple, but I am not too happy with my plural example, so feel free to replace for a better one. Is would also be nice to have and example for the emrgence of the unmarked maybe and maybe a tableaux. May get back to it shortly. preceding unsigned comment by AnandaLima (talk • contribs) 02:20, 12 June 2004 (UTC)

Theory or not?

The word "theory" has a well-defined meaning in science. It means "something that makes a prediction that you can test". Einstein's Theory of Relativity does that; it makes quite a number of predictions. Likewise, Darwin's Theory of Evolution does. However, Optimality Theory doesn't. If anyone thinks that it does, please list the predictions that it makes instead of gratuitously un-doing the edits. I know of no reason to use any other definition of "theory". gpkh 18 December 2005.

In OT phonology, a case of purely phonological opacity (where the optimal candidate has worse faithfulness and no better markedness than a competitor candidate) that is uninfluenced by morphological boundaries or paradigm uniformity effects would (and has indeed been claimed to) falsify OT. Sympathy theory would allow for this, but sympathy theory is not widely accepted among OT linguists, precisely because it strengthens OT to the point of unfalsifiability. OT would also be falsified by a language that prefers cross-linguistically marked structures (e.g. syllables without onsets) to cross-linguistically unmarked ones (like syllables with onsets). Here again, there are people who have proposed constraints that say things like "syllables must not have onsets", but such suggestions are generally rejected by other linguists. In OT syntax, cases of ineffability (where a given input structure has no grammatical output) present a serious challenge to OT, since OT predicts that any input will have some grammatical output. There has been some discussion of ineffability in the OT syntax literature, but I don't know enough about it to say what the proposed explanation is or whether it's been accepted by the OT syntax community. --Angr (t·c) 05:56, 19 December 2005 (UTC)

Response: OT has too many variants and options

OK. Lets look at that piece by piece. For OT to be a falsifiable theory, OT must predict something like the following: No language shall allow sentence X under conditions Y. Then, if a language allows X, OT is invalid.

Note that some particular variant or extension of OT might be a falsifiable theory, but perhaps not OT as a whole. If you want to claim that OT as a whole is a theory, you need to restrict yourself to statements that have a broad consensus. One practical problem is that OT has been applied in many ways, with many different sets of constraints, so that finding a broad consensus is dificult. I think I can safely say that there is no universally accepted set of constraints (though some constraints are shared among many linguists who do OT). If you disagree, I'd like to see a citation pointing to a list of constraints that is (a) broadly accepted, and (b) extensive enough so that practioners rarely have to step outside the list.

So, one argument I would make is that OT is not definite enough to be a theory. In support of this, I would quote from : "...they discuss difficulties in defining the INPUT in various MP-OT approaches..." and " turn, this involves a rather radical difference in the architecture of the OT grammar between phonology and syntax..." These are not quotes that support the idea of a single, well-defined, stable, generally accepted theory.

A related problem is that the constraints of OT are not defined in terms of observable quantities. For instance, there is no way to absolutely know if a particular vowel is reduced. In many cases acoustic measurements yield ambiguous answers; Phoneticians don't always agree with each other.

Further, a language is not a uniform entity. People speak dialects, and can change dialect in different circumstances. Nor are dialects uniform: different people can show mixtures of features from (e.g.) Estuary English and (e.g.) Cornish English. So, the data that any test of OT must depend upon is a bit wobbly.

Claim 1: phonological opacity

Now, let's take that first claim: ...a case of purely phonological opacity (where the optimal candidate has worse faithfulness and no better markedness than a competitor candidate) that is uninfluenced by morphological boundaries or paradigm uniformity effects would ... falsify OT.

You're referring to Moreton 1996. I note that the first paper I found via google ( ) that points to Moreton describes it thus: Morton (1996) shows that, given some common assumptions about Optimality Theory.... That's hardly the wording that one would use in describing a well established, well-defined theory. Read on down the page to get a description of more options within OT (i.e. disagreements about what OT actually predicts).

But, leaving aside such concerns, one basic problem is that the term "marked" is not well-defined. One often hears about alternation between marked and unmarked forms. One can objectively tell that the two forms are different, but can one objectively tell which is marked? How? Suppose a violation of the first claim was proposed: what would keep people from saying "Oh well, the other form must be marked." Often, nothing! For an example, consider , which builds an argument that the pluperfect tense is marked compared to the past tense. OK, sure, I can believe that. The trouble is, I could believe it the other way around also.

(Admittedly, some forms of markedness are less easy to believe when reversed, but my point is that there's a lot of fuzziness here.) Much the same kind of argument could be made for "faithfulness" constraints. The key question is "faithful to what?" Again, there are enough loose ends so that a purported counterexample would not kill OT. Rather, it would likely be reinterpreted within the framework of OT.

Claim 2: markedness

Now, let's take that other example: OT would also be falsified by a language that prefers cross-linguistically marked structures (e.g. syllables without onsets) to cross-linguistically unmarked ones (like syllables with onsets).

First of all, that's darned weak. It's just a statement that "all languages we've seen so far have few syllables without onsets, therefore we predict the next language to have few syllables without onsets." One can make that prediction without all the mechanism of OT. So, if OT's falsifiability rests on that, it will fall to Occam's Razor.

Second, I'll bet that any good OT guy could come up with an explanation for any particular example of a syllable without an onset. One can always invent a new constraint if necessary.

Finally, I will argue as Hercule Poirot would say from the psychology of the individual. If people really believed that they could falsify OT, someone would be out there collecting data in New Guinea. If anyone could convincingly falsify OT, it would be the biggest result in linguistics in 50 years. If you couldn't get an endowed professorship out of that, well... Anyhow, given the lackluster attempts to disprove OT, I must conclude that people either believe it is 100% correct, or have a gut feeling that their data would just get absorbed.

So, overall, I don't buy your examples. Gpkh 00:21, 21 December 2005 (UTC)

Response by Angr

Yeah, I noticed. But nothing you've said is a unique problem of OT. If one follows your argumentation, then there has never been a single linguistic theory proposed at all. Perhaps linguistics uses the word "theory" in a different way from Karl Popper. Nevertheless, to me the fact that OT opponents like Idsardi have claimed to have falsified OT is a pretty good indication that it is falsifiable. There are certainly extensions of OT like sympathy theory or Alderete's "anti-faithfulness" that make the theory unfalsifiable, but these extensions are not widely accepted. If anything, OT's biggest weakness is not that it's unfalsifiable but that it's all too easily falsifiable: OT doesn't predict opacity or ineffability, and yet both seem to occur. OT predicts that CV is the unmarked syllable in all languages, yet the Australian language Arrernte has (if I remember correctly; I have no source to hand) been claimed to have VC as the unmarked syllable. Chomsky argued that OT predicts all words should be /ta/, which is also clearly not the case. (Pro-OT people say Chomsky apparently completely misunderstood OT when he said that, though.) This is why OT opponents still cling to Lexical Phonology and even SPE phonology, because those "theories" really do allow absolutely anything and make no falsifiable predictions. Perhaps you're right, perhaps OT doesn't meet all the criteria of a falsifiable theory. But it comes a damn slight closer to it than any other "theory" of linguistics. --Angr (t·c) 06:13, 21 December 2005 (UTC)
I'd suggest that Government Phonology is a properly falsifiable theory. It makes a number of falsifiable predictions, and I'd also say that quite a few versions of transformational grammar are also falsifiable. (talk) 17:16, 15 February 2008 (UTC)

Continuation by gpkh: How strictly should one define "theory"?

I think that in practice, one shouldn't interpret "falsifiability" too strictly. In the social and life sciences, every theory is false (in the strict sense) because none are perfect*, but some are still better than others. So you can take the best theory(ies) and keep them around and consider them to be tentatively true. The rest, you consider to be false and throw out. Then, when a new theory comes along, you can compare it to your current champion.

(* My brother is a biologist, and he tells me that "In carefully controlled experimental conditions, genetically identical animals will do whatever they darn well please."

So, In practice, you can't afford to think true/false; instead one thinks better/worse. Then instead of "falsifiable" in the strict sense, you'll call it a theory as long as it is testable or rankable against other theories. One has to see if theory A works better or worse than theory B.

It's really just a labour-saving scheme. By ranking theories and throwing out the ones that don't work well, you free up smart people to work on other things.

Taking this weaker form of falsifiability, there are theories in linguistics. Not big, grand theories, but you can find testable predictions. For example:

  • Probabilistic grammars of various kinds in computational linguistics can do a fairly good job of predicting human grammaticality judgements.
  • There are models in intonational phonology that predict (for example) numerical values for a speaker's fundamental frequency based on combinations of lexical tones in Chinese. (I've done one.) Again, there's not really a "hard" pass/fail falsifiability, but you can say A is better than B, and C is pretty good, but D is terrible.
  • There is work combining aerodynamics, modeling of the tongue and the like that promises to explain coarticulation. This is sort of a follow-on from Browman and Goldstein who asked the question "can coarticulation lead to phenomena that are misinterpreted as phonological changes?" They set out to test the hypothesis that (e.g.) vowel deletion is a phonetic process. Again, maybe not quite a theory in the strict sense, but that line of research is getting close.
  • There is a lot of work in Experimental Psychology that addresses some linguistic questions, some of which involves models (theories?) of how the brain interprets sounds. It involves fairly careful hypothesis testing. I don't follow it quite closely enough to know if it's a "theory" but it has that flavour.
  • And, for that matter, OT applied to second language learning might well breed a theory. Suppose you start the interlanguage as a copy of your first language, and then modify it by minimal exchanges of constraints: just swap one neighbouring pair at a time. Given some work, that kind of model might make testable predictions. It could be made into a theory of language learning.
  • Speech synthesizers and speech recognition systems embody theories. Awful, messy, complicated theories, but they do make predictions about language.

So, it's not that linguistics cannot breed scientific theories. Consequently, I don't think it's appropriate to use the word too loosely.

One possibility is to look at OT as a cloud of variants. All related, but not identical. An individual researcher might have a version of OT that is a testable theory that is more-or-less true, another might have one that is false, while a third might have one that's not testable/falsifiable at all. In that case you can't say that OT is a theory: it's (plural) theories along with some things that aren't theories. It wouldn't be falsifiable because you probably cannot prove all the variants to be false at once.

In that view of the situation, it is strictly correct to say that OT is not a theory, but perhaps that's not the best way to phrase it. Do you think a cloud or cluster metaphor is appropriate?


Very likely. I agree with what you've said above, but I hope you understand that I'm bound to react sensitively when someone comes along and says OT makes no falsifiable predictions, when I've spent several years writing a book (cited in the references of this article) arguing for a version of OT that is very constrained and testable. But of course, that's your point: it's a version of OT, and there are many other versions of OT that are unconstrained and untestable. --Angr (t·c) 05:59, 22 December 2005 (UTC)

Optimality in biology?

I'm very surprised that this article at a first glance does not seem to mention biology at all. Optimality criteria are widely used on studies of behaviour, and it has often been said that the accuracy of predictions made is some of the best evidence of evolution, with the quantitative agreement often coming close to that encountered in the physical sciences. I can think of Alex Kacelnik as one prominent author in this field, but there are many others. - Samsara 21:06, 13 January 2006 (UTC)

Perhaps a separate article on the biological subject would be called for. --Angr (tɔk) 21:16, 13 January 2006 (UTC)

Error in example analysis?

Correct me if I'm wrong but I don't think the constraint "one cannot have two /s/ sounds in succession in English" actually exists or it is misleading. Although most words spelled with double s's only pronounce one, some words like vicissitude and admissible, seem to be able to be pronounceable with two s's (one corresponding to the coda of the one syllable, the other to the onset of the next). It seems possible to have two successive s's in English if they are in different syllables in this manner. Should the rule be adjusted for this? Perhaps "a syllable in English cannot have two successive /s/ sounds". (I guess another possibility is that the rule is low ranking, and thus vicissitude and admissible can allow for its violation in favor of another constraint.)

Vicissitude and admissible are pronounced with only one /s/ sound in a row. English doesn't have phonological geminates except at the boundary of a compound, like bookkeeper. Angr (talkcontribs) 11:24, 1 May 2006 (UTC)

Here's another problem with the example: the English plural morpheme is /z/, not /s/. The faithfulness constraint Ident(Voice) is violated in cat[s], in order to have agreement in voicing. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 04:49, 1 October 2007 (UTC)

Tableau in example?

Could we show a little tableau for the example? This would exemplify tableaus as a means of Optimality Theoretic exposition, and give a couple very common constraints (*CC. Dep, Max). In addition, a short section on the candidate set and GEN could be added. I believe this would be appropriate for the entry, assuming that we can find the appropriate unicode finger symbol. mitcho/芳貴 18:23, 19 June 2006 (UTC)

Mr. Pointy Finger (as it was always called when I was in grad school) is at U+261E (☞ or ☞). Adding a tableau is a good idea! User:Angr 18:43, 19 June 2006 (UTC)

Here's an example tableau: for some reason I can't get the dotted or dashed lines to show up at 1px... In addition, an explanation of the thinking process, a definition of these constraints, and one more tableau (classes) is what I'm proposing we add. mitcho/芳貴 22:02, 20 June 2006 (UTC)

Tableau for 'cat+s'
/kæt + s/ Dep Max *ComplexCoda
kæt *!
☞ kæts *
kætəs *!

Note also that the article says 'cats' 'passes all the markedness constraints' -- how incredibly wrong is that? We need tableau quickly. I'll keep playing with these. Does someone want to write neutral definitions for *[ss], Max, *Struc, and Dep, preferably with citations? mitcho/芳貴 02:22, 22 June 2006 (UTC)

I wouldn't use *Struc for the low-ranked constraint cats violates, it's too controversial and too hard to understand. I'd use something like ComplexCoda instead. User:Angr 07:26, 22 June 2006 (UTC)

Updated tableau and added tableau for classes. With some descriptive text for the process and constraints, we should be good to go. mitcho/芳貴 18:09, 2 July 2006 (UTC)

Tableau for 'class+s' given ranking from 'cat+s'
/klæs + s/ *[ss] Max Dep *ComplexCoda
klæs *!
klæss *! *
☞ klæsəz *

Instead of *ss let's go for *SS, where S stands for any strident fricative or affricate. Thus

  • SS - A complex coda consisting of two strident fricatives or an affricate and a strident fricative is prohibited.

Compare Staffs, wolves, heaths, and writhes. Here no insertion is present due to the codas consisting of a nonstrident fricative plus a strident one.

I'd also like to point out that the underlying form of the English plural, the possessive and the 3rd sing are all /z/. It's easy to get sidetracked by spelling. This sound change is due to fricatives becoming voiced in the coda position of unstressed syllables in Middle English.

Other than that, I must say that the fact that DEP and MAX are reversed going from the first tableau to the second must be resolved. Optimality theory is the theory of intuition and intuition doesn't change from one instance to another. -- 09:46, 10 September 2006 (UTC)

      • Grasping tableau

It is good to see the tableau implemented, but as it stands it, and the text that leads up to it, takes a bit of work to understand. C1 and C2 are explained to be constraints, but what the "candidates" A, B are is not explained.

I can fix this, but it might take time to do, so in the meantime I post this comment... (talk) 09:18, 6 October 2008 (UTC)

Optimality Theory versus Connectionism

The beginning of the article does not explain how OT and connectionism are different.

A key difference between OT and connectionism is the former's reliance upon the idea of strict domination. Strict domination essentially states that, for any pair of ranked constraints A >> B, a candidate which violates A is always - without exception - less optimal than a candidate that does not violate A, regardless of the number of times either candidate violates B. Thus, if some candidate C1 has five (or ten, or ten thousand) violations of B and some other candidate C2 has one violation of A, and A >> B, then C1 is the more optimal of the two. Even if candidate C1 violates some lower constraints C, D, E, etc., which are ranked A >> B >> C >> D >> E, and C2 has no violations other than of A, C2 is still less optimal because of its violation of the highest-ranking constraint. joo-yoon 19:06, 14 February 2007 (UTC)

Improving the example

The English plural morpheme is generally regarded to be /z/. It might be a better idea to illustrate OT with "cats" and "dogz." There are only two relevant constraints: faithfulness to voicing and a markedness constraint requiring agreement in voicing (F:Voi and M:Agree(Voi)). If necessary, add fishiz, Dep and *SS.

Another good beginning example is past tense.

In either case, the constraints should be clearly defined and their violations should be displayed in tableaux. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 05:05, 1 October 2007 (UTC)

Criticism section

The criticism section needs to be redone. The question of whether OT is a 'theory' (and what 'theory' means) is irrelevant to what OT is and how it works. Frameworks in linguistics don't get falsified: they adapt to accommodate new issues and novel language data, or they get discarded. The theory question basically reduces to terminology - OT includes the word 'theory' in its name, other frameworks don't. Asking whether OT is a theory (in some arbitrary, technical sense of the word) is no more important than asking if Chomsky & Halle's Sound Pattern of English is a description of a sound pattern. In both cases the answer is trivially 'no'. The discussion of opacity is similarly tangential. Whether some set of data is an instance of opacity depends on one's interpretation of it; whether one 'kind' of opacity or another disproves some instantiation of OT depends on the specifics of that particular implementation. References to individuals' proposals about how standard OT can be modified to account for opacity don't seem to fit well there. That section should be about the prominent theoretical, empirical, or methodological objections to OT, not citations of proposals modifying OT to capture specific phenomena.

Would anyone care to redo it? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 02:52, 5 October 2007 (UTC)

UPDATE: well, I added some things, such as the two examples listed right here. Still needs much more work, though. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:43, 8 October 2007 (UTC)

I think both Chomsky's [ba] and Halle's faithfulness comments belong there. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 03:54, 5 October 2007 (UTC)

I agree. It might also be good to note that Chomsky's choice of [ba] is somewhat arbitrary. I don't think any seriously proposed set of constraints would make [ba] the least-marked syllable - something like [ta] or [ʔa] is much more plausible. Another good thing to include might be the idea that an infinite number of candidates would make for an infinitely long processing time. That's definitely an issue when using OT as a model of production, but it's often given as evidence against using OT as a representational tool, etc. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 04:42, 5 October 2007 (UTC)

I think the criticism section should refer to criticism from people who (unlike Chomsky and Halle) actually understand what OT says. Even if Chomsky had said OT predicts all syllables will be [ta] or [ʔa] instead of [ba], the claim is so preposterously ignorant of OT's actual predictions it's hardly worth mentioning, which is why AFAIK no OT supporter has ever bothered refuting it in print. The main criticism of OT that comes from people who do understand it is that it fails to account for cases of opacity (e.g. William Idsardi) or that it works fine in some subfields of phonology but not as a unified model for all linguistic processes (e.g. April McMahon). You're right that the "It's not really a theory" line is kind of weak; there is no alternative model of linguistic processes that is one under the strict definition of "theory", so the fact that OT isn't one isn't really a drawback. —Angr 11:11, 5 October 2007 (UTC)

Chomsky's and Halle's criticism, although unfounded, is well-known enough to warrant mentioning on Wikipedia. John J. McCarthy and Alan Prince have indeed refuted it in print. McCarthy devoted a question to it in the FAQs section of his OT textboook, and Alan has refuted it (at least) twice, first in "Elsewhere and Otherwise" and again in "In Pursuit of Theory." AFAIK both are supporters of OT. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 12:30, 5 October 2007 (UTC)

In that case, okay. But it should still take second place to serious criticisms of OT. —Angr 12:35, 5 October 2007 (UTC)

It should take second place to other well-known and published criticisms of OT, and their well-known and published rebuttals. For instance, there's no mention of John J. McCarthy's (thorough) book on opacity. Every article cited should also be published outside of ROA, which is neither peer-reviewed nor edited. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 12:54, 5 October 2007 (UTC)

Fine, but other unpublished or non-peer-reviewed papers can't be used as sources then either. That includes McCarthy & Prince 1993 (never published) and McCarthy & Prince 1994 (since NELS papers aren't peer-reviewed). —Angr 22:49, 5 October 2007 (UTC)

Prince and McCarthy (1993) was in fact published, albeit as a non-peer-reviewed technical report. I don't know whether NELS papers are peer-reviewed or edited prior to publication, but I know for a fact that submitted abstracts are reviewed prior to acceptance. But that's really beside the point. Prosodic Morphology is one of the foundational papers in OT - it's where a tremendous number of commonly-held ideas originate. These include correspondence theory, generalizable constraint templates, the notion of stratal OT, and ALIGN as a type of constraint. Accordingly, that paper is one of the most frequently-cited works in OT, and has had a major effect on the current state of OT. This is plainly not the case for some of the other articles listed in the references, such as Green (2005). Simply put, Prince and McCarthy (1993) should be an exception to any policy of not including un-reviewed sources: it's an exceptional work. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 04:17, 6 October 2007 (UTC)

I don't think they necessarily need to be peer-reviewed. Just reviewed. Things on ROA are as valid as Geocities homepages. To submit a paper to ROA, you only need a) a title and b) a name. If someone - anyone - bothers to publish a paper, at least then we can be sure at least someone found it worth publishing.

On a side note, excluding M&P '93 and '94 does the article a huge disservice. Do you honestly care about this article at all? If we're going to talk about phonological opacity, let's talk about the most well-known accounts of it, not ones we have personal investments in. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 06:25, 6 October 2007 (UTC)

I'm bad at these arguments. Here is the official view: "All articles must adhere to Wikipedia's neutrality policy, fairly representing all majority and significant-minority viewpoints that have been published by reliable sources, in rough proportion to the prominence of each view."

I don't think I'd have any trouble arguing that support of A&P 93, 94 is considered a reliable source and that it represents a majority or significant-minority viewpoint. Now argue the case for Green 2005. Why should it be in Wikipedia? There are many other unmentioned accounts of opacity which are more well-known and accepted. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 06:34, 6 October 2007 (UTC)

One last thing: "Self-promotion. It can be tempting to write about yourself or projects you have a strong personal involvement in. However, do remember that the standards for encyclopedic articles apply to such pages just like any other, including the requirement to maintain a neutral point of view, which is difficult when writing about yourself. Creating overly abundant links and references to autobiographical articles is unacceptable. See Wikipedia:Autobiography, Wikipedia:Notability and Wikipedia:Conflict of interest." —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 06:39, 6 October 2007 (UTC)

You wrote, "I don't think they necessarily need to be peer-reviewed. Just reviewed." Well, Sanders 2003 is a dissertation and Green 2005 is a Habilitation; both were reviewed by committees of professors before being accepted by their respective universities and uploaded to ROA. Green 2005 is in the process of being published outside ROA and will appear in a few months. These two deserve to be included in a response to the criticism that OT can't handle opacity, because they're the only two works I'm aware of that directly address that criticism by saying "OT doesn't have to handle opacity, because purely phonological opacity doesn't exist". If there are other works that also address the opacity criticism, of course they can be added as well, but it's a logical fallacy to say "Because anything can be uploaded to ROA, everything uploaded there is unreliable". —Angr 10:00, 6 October 2007 (UTC)

Green (2005) may be a serious response to a criticism about opacity, or it may be a manifesto - I haven't read it carefully, so I'm not going to pass judgment on how good it is. But I happen to know that at least someone has cited it (namely Pater 2007; ROA-906), so it's not as if it's completely unknown. In light of that, I don't think Green should be the one to decide whether Green (2005) should be a reference for this entry. If it belongs there, wait for someone else to read it, and let them list it. Or else, make a separate page on OT theories using morpheme-specific and/or language-specific constraints - it would fit just fine there, and I think there are enough works like that that it would be a good inclusion in sub-theories section. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:44, 6 October 2007 (UTC)

Rutgers Optimality Archive information

Should there be a section with a description of ROA? Most of the books noted in the references can be found there, either in full or by parts. On the other hand, ROA has a lot of chaff, since there are no major restrictions on what can be put there, and there's no review/editing process (as people have noted above). —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 04:29, 6 October 2007 (UTC)