rchangeli & Langendoen’s Optimality Theory: An Overview

May 19th, 2015
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According to the front page, Archangeli & Langendoen’s Optimality Theory: An Overview (henceforth A&L) is “the first in a series of volumes of essays which are designed to introduce and explain major research areas in linguistic theory and practice”. On the back cover, we learn that it provides “the first general introduction to optimality theory — arguably the linguistic theory of the 1990s.”

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PragmaticsREVIEW ARTICLEThe Best of All Possible WordsT. MARK ELLISON & EWAN KLEINUniversity of EdinburghDiana Archangeli & D. Terence Langendoen (eds.), Optimality Theory: An Overview. Malden & Oxford: Blackwell, 1997. Pp. xii + 233.11I NTRODUCTIONAccording to the front page, Archangeli & Langendoen's Optimality Theory: An Overview (henceforth A&L) is "the rst in a series of volumes of essays which are designed to introduce and explain major research areas in linguistic theory and practice". On the back cover, we learn that it provides "the rst general introduction to optimality theory - arguably the linguistic theory of the 1990s." And the Forward states that the intended audience is "anyone with a serious interest in language who desires to understand [Optimality Theory], regardless of their background in formal linguistic theory itself."In many respects, the book does indeed fulll its announced goals. As far as we are aware, Archangeli & Langendoen were rst to market with an introduction toOT,though since then, Kager(1999) has also appeared. The essays themselves are generally lucid and well-edited, and together they carry out a pretty comprehensive, though necessarily supercial, tour of the main landmarks inOT.Various aspects of phonology are covered in three chapters by Archangeli, Hammond andPulleyblank; there is a chapter on morphology by Russell; and two chapters on syntax by Pesetsky and Speas. The six main essays are sandwiche

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