There are three basic components of the theory: Generator Gen takes an input, and generates the list of possible outputs, or candidates, Constraint component Con provides the criteria, in the form of strictly ranked violable constraints, used to decide between candidates, and Evaluator Eval chooses the optimal candidate based on the constraints, and this candidate is the output.
Thus, a morphologically negative word form is marked as opposed to a positive one: Similarly, unaffixed masculine or singular forms are taken to be unmarked in contrast to affixed feminine or plural forms: An unmarked form is also a default form.
For example, the unmarked lion can refer to a male or female, while lioness is marked because it can refer only to females. The default nature allows unmarked lexical forms to be identified even when the opposites are not morphologically related.
For example, English speakers typically ask how old, big, happy, or clean something or someone is; use of the marked term how young are you?
Background in the Prague School[ edit ] While the idea of linguistic asymmetry predated the actual coining of the terms marked and unmarked, the modern concept of markedness originated in the Prague School structuralism of Roman Jakobson and Nikolai Trubetzkoy as a means of characterizing binary oppositions.
Edwin Battistella said "Binarism suggests symmetry and equivalence in linguistic analysis ; markedness adds the idea of hierarchy. For Jakobson and Trubetzkoy, binary phonological features formed part of a universal feature alphabet applicable to all languages.
In his article "Structure of the Russian Verb", Jakobson extended the concept to grammatical meanings in which the marked element "announces the existence of [some meaning] A" while the unmarked element "does not announce the existence of A, i. Drawing on existing studies of acquisition and aphasiaJakobson suggested a mirror-image relationship determined by a universal feature hierarchy of marked and unmarked oppositions.
Today many still see Jakobson's theory of phonological acquisition as identifying useful tendencies. Other semiotically-oriented work has investigated the isomorphism of form and meaning with less emphasis on invariance, including the efforts of Henning Andersen, Michael Shapiro, and Edwin Battistella.
Shapiro and Andrews have especially made connections between the semiotic of C. Peirce and markedness, treating it "as species of interpretant" in Peirce's sign-object-interpretant triad.
Willi Mayerthaler, another linguist, for example, defines unmarked categories as those "in agreement with the typical attributes of the speaker". What is more marked in some general contexts may be less marked in other local contexts.
Thus, "ant" is less marked than "ants" on the morphological level, but on the semantic and frequency levels it may be more marked since ants are more often encountered many at once than one at a time. Often a more general markedness relation may be reversed in a particular context.
Thus, voicelessness of consonants is typically unmarked. But between vowels or in the neighborhood of voiced consonants, voicing may be the expected or unmarked value.
Reversal is reflected in certain West Frisian words' plural and singular forms: However, a number of words instead reform the singular by extending the form of the plural: Universals and frequency[ edit ] Joseph Greenberg 's book Language Universals was an influential application of markedness to typological linguistics and a break from the tradition of Jakobson and Trubetzkoy.
Greenberg took frequency to be the primary determining factor of markedness in grammar and suggested that unmarked categories could be determined by "the frequency of association of things in the real world".
Greenberg also applied frequency cross-linguistically, suggesting that unmarked categories would be those that are unmarked in a wide number of languages. However, critics have argued that frequency is problematic because categories that are cross-linguistically infrequent may have a high distribution in a particular language.
This entails that a category is taken as marked if every language that has the marked category also has the unmarked one but not vice versa.
Diagnostics[ edit ] Markedness has been extended and reshaped over the past century and reflects a range of loosely connected theoretical approaches.
From emerging in the analysis of binary oppositions, it has become a global semiotic principle, a means of encoding naturalness and language universals, and a terminology for studying defaults and preferences in language acquisition. What connects various approaches is a concern for the evaluation of linguistic structure, though the details of how markedness is determined and what its implications and diagnostics are varies widely.
Other approaches to universal markedness relations focus on functional economic and iconic motivations, tying recurring symmetries to properties of communication channels and communication events. Croftfor example, notes that asymmetries among linguistic elements may be explainable in terms economy of form, in terms of iconism between the structure of language and conceptualization of the world.
In generative grammar[ edit ] Markedness entered generative linguistic theory through Chomsky and Halle's The Sound Pattern of English. For Chomsky and Halle, phonological features went beyond a universal phonetic vocabulary to encompass an 'evaluation metric', a means of selecting the most highly-valued adequate grammar.
In The Sound Pattern of English, the value of a grammar was the inverse of the number of features required in that grammar. However, Chomsky and Halle realized that their initial approach to phonological features made implausible rules and segment inventories as highly valued as natural ones.
The unmarked value of a feature was cost-free with respect to the evaluation metric, while the marked feature values were counted by the metric. Segment inventories could also be evaluated according to the number of marked features.these constraints can account for defaults in allomorphy, lexical exceptionality, and lexical variation, in addition to providing a way to learn URs (see Pater et al for an overview).
2. OPTIMALITY ACCOUNT OF CONSTRAINTS ON LEXICAL CO-OCCURRENCE IN THE IGBO LANGUAGE: FOCUS ON “BUY” VERB - ZU ABSTRACT The principles and mechanisms that constrain the combinatorial properties of lexical items in some languages of the world have been noted in many works of recent linguistic studies.
Optimality Theory (Languages And Linguistics), Phonetics and Phonology, Syllable Structure, Sandhi OPTIMALITY THEORY - an interview with John McCarthy In its more than two decades, Optimality Theory has contributed to a great shift in linguistic theory.
1 Optimality Theory in Phonology Alan Prince and Paul Smolensky 1.
Architecture GENERATIVE PHONOLOGY [q.v.] aims to construct a predictive theory of natural language sound systems, rooted in a finely-detailed account of the principles defining linguistic representations and.
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Enter a word (or two) above and you'll get back a bunch of portmanteaux created by jamming together words that are conceptually related to your inputs.. For example, enter "giraffe" and you'll get .