The Universal Constraint Set: Convention not Fact

T. Mark Ellison
This paper looks at two different views of the universality of the constraint set in Optimality Theory. The first view is that the universality is a statement of mental reality of speakers of human languages, and so is a real, objective fact of the world. The second view is that the constraint set is a convention, like the phonetic alphabet, which reflects some functionally motivated categories, but is at heart arbitrary. I examine seven arguments for one view or the other, and conclude that
more » ... arguments for the objectivist position are weak, while it is hard deny the usefulness of a conventional constraint set.
doi:10.7282/t31z429f fatcat:5z44mnq555hkjcsq6mbkmojx4q