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Computation also matters: a response to Pater (2018)

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  04 June 2019

Adam Jardine*
Rutgers University


This article responds to Pater (2018) by arguing for a view of phonology that captures the computational properties of phonological processes. Jardine's (2016) statement that tone is formally more complex than segmental phonology is not a claim, as Pater characterises it, but an empirical observation. This article outlines how phonological theories can incorporate such observations, and integrate them with considerations of phonological substance. The conclusion is that, while computational characterisations are not necessarily alternatives to Optimality Theory, it is extremely diffcult to capture the computational nature of phonological processes in Optimality Theory, due to the expressive power of global optimisation.

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Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2019 

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This paper owes much to invaluable discussion with Jeff Heinz and Bill Idsardi and to the helpful comments of three anonymous reviewers. All errors are my own.


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