Learning opacity in Stratal Maximum Entropy Grammar

Aleksei Nazarov, Joe Pater

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


Opaque phonological patterns are sometimes claimed to be difficult to learn; specific hypotheses have been advanced about the relative difficulty of particular kinds of opaque processes (Kiparsky 1971, 1973), and the kind of data that is helpful in learning an opaque pattern (Kiparsky 2000). In this paper, we present a computationally implemented learning theory for one grammatical theory of opacity, a Maximum Entropy version of Stratal OT (Bermúdez-Otero 1999, Kiparsky 2000), and test it on simplified versions of opaque French tense–lax vowel alternations and the opaque interaction of diphthong raising and flapping in Canadian English. We find that the difficulty of opacity can be influenced by evidence for stratal affiliation: the Canadian English case is easier if the learner encounters application of raising outside the flapping context, or non-application of raising between words (e.g. life with [ʌɪ]; lie for with [aɪ]).
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)299-324
Number of pages26
Issue number2
Early online date14 Aug 2017
Publication statusPublished - 14 Aug 2017
Externally publishedYes


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