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"The goal of this paper is to show that the distribution
of heads in English clauses, including inversion of the subject and auxiliary
verb, and the appearance of the auxiliary verb do and the complementizer
that, can be explained by the interaction of universal constraints, under
Optimality Theory as proposed in Prince and Smolensky 1993.
"In sum, the present theory of pronominal markedness
can explain the existence of universal (or near-universal) asymmetries
in the typology of pronominal systems, the preponderant use of free
pronouns in pidgins of typologically diverse sources, and the emergence
of free pronouns to fill gaps in the system of reduced pronouns within
individual languages. These preliminary resuls suggest that it is indeed
possible to develop a nonderivational theory of markedness for syntax analoguous
to the OT theories developed in phonology, but of course much further work
is required."
"The aim of this article is to elucidate the processes
that characterize natural language interpretation. The basic hypothesis
is that natural language interpretation can be characterized as an optimization
problem. This innovative view on interpretation is shown to account for
the crucial role of contextual information while avoiding certain well-known
problems associated with compositionality. This will become particularly
clear in the context of incomplete expressions. Our approach takes as a
point of departure total freedom of interpretation in combination with
the parallel application of soft constraints on possible interpretations.
These constraints can be contextual, intonational or syntactic in nature.
The integration of pragmatic and syntactic/semantic information in a system
of ranked constraints is proposed to correctly derive the optimal interpretations
in cases of nominal anaphorization, determiner quantification and
elliptical comparatives.
"In a series of papers, Petra Hendriks, Helen de Hoop
and Henriëtte de Swart have applied optimality theory (OT) to semantics.
These authors argue that there is a fundamental difference between the
form of OT as used in phonology, morphology and syntax on the one hand
and its form as used in semantics on the other hand. Whereas in the first
case OT takes the point of view of the speaker, in the second case the
point of view of the hearer is taken. The aim of this paper is to argue
that the proper treatment of OT in natural language interpretation has
to take both perspectives at the same time. A conceptual framework is established
that realizes the integration of both perspectives. It will be argued that
this framework captures the essence of the Gricean maxims and gives a precise
explication of Atlas & Levinson‘s (1981) idea of balancing between
informativeness and efficiency in natural language processing. The ideas
are then applied to resolve some puzzles in natural language interpretation."
"In this paper, we discuss some formal properties of the
model of bidirectional Optimality Theory that was developed in Blutner
2000. We investigate the conditions under which bidirectional optimization
is a well-defined notion, and we give a conceptually simpler reformulation
of Blutner’s definition. In the second part of the paper, we show that
bidirectional optimization can be modeled by means of finite state techniques.
There we rely heavily on the related work of Frank and Satta 1998 about
unidirectional optimization."
"In this paper, I have shown that a theory of semantic
interpretation on the basis of OT syntax is feasible, though it has to
be supplemented with some quite general semantic and pragmatic principles.
The place of the Gricean maxims within this scheme has so far not been
explored properly. E.g. relevance and quantity must play a role. Superoptimality
(or weak superoptimality) and the speaker and hearer games developed by
(Dekker & Van Rooy) continue to be relevant, but do not penetrate syntax
as such."
An OT-account to Finish partitive is proposed that makes
use of a partially ordered OT grammar. Partial ordering of constraints
is crucial in deriving preferences in expression as well as interpretation,
including blocking effects.
"This paper proposes three revisions to the standard view
on presupposition: the employment of optimality theory for the defaults
and preferences, the possibility of inaccessible antecedents for presupposition
resolution and a fine-grained classification of presupposition triggers
based on the availability of expression alternatives and the requirement
of the presupposition. The treatment deals with some phenomena that have
not been addressed by current presupposition theories."
"In this paper the Centering model of anaphora resolution
and discourse coherence (Grosz, Joshi and Weinstein, 1983) is reformulated
in terms of Optimality Theory ( ot ) (Prince and Smolensky 1993). A fi
rst version of this reformulated model is proven to be descritively equivalent
to an earlier algorithmic statement of Centering due to Brennan, Friedman
and Pollard (1987). However, the new model is stated declaratively, and
makes clearer the status of the various constraints used in the theory.
In the second part of the paper, the model is extended in various ways,
demonstrating the advantages of the ot reformulation. First to be considered
are alternative versions of the constraints on topic-hood (how the "backward-looking
center" is identified) and salience (the definition of the "forward-looking
center list"). Then, after relating the model to recent proposals in ot
semanantics and pragmatics (Blutner 2000, de Hoop and Hendriks 2000), three
new applications are described. It is shown how the theory can be applied
to natural language generation, to the evaluation/optimization of complete
texts, and to the interpretation of accented pronouns"
"The central claim of this paper is that the character
of the restrictions imposed by Optimality Theory (Prince and Smolensky
1991, 1993) have demonstrable and significant consequences for central
questions of learnability.,,,Section 1 formulates the Optimality Theoretic
learning problem we address. Section 2 addresses this problem by developing
the principle of Constraint Demotion, which is incorporated into an error-driven
learning procedure in section 3. Section 4 takes up some issues and open
questions raised by Constraint Demotion, and section 5 concludes. Section
6 is an appendix containing the formal definitions, theorems, and proofs."