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Title: Towards a computer model of the historical phonology and morphology of Latin
Author: Roberts, Philip J.
ISNI:       0000 0004 0163 9420
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2012
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Research projects in Optimality Theory tend to take a synchronic view of a particular generalisation, and set their standards for rigour in typological terms (see for example Suzuki 1998 on dissimilation, Crosswhite 2001 on vowel reduction). The goal of this thesis is to use Stratal OT to take a diachronic view of multiple generalisations within the morpho-phonology of one language, namely Latin, with the principal empirical aim of producing an analysis that is demonstrably true to all the attested facts of the generalisations in question. To that end, I have written PyOT, a computer program implementing the OT calculus and a theory of phonological representations, which I use in this work to model the histories of Lachmann’s Law, rhotacism and the phonologically conditioned allomorphy of the -alis/aris- suffix as active generalisations within the phonological component of the grammar. Appendix A gives the results of the computer model applied to a dataset consisting of 185 attested Latin forms, which suffice to illustrate the exact conditions of the generalisations in question. I show that producing a complete analysis of the three generalisations I have chosen to model entails analysis of other generalisations that interact with them, including the treatment of the Indo-European voiced aspirates in Latin (which interacts with rhotacism), and reduplication in forming perfect stems (which interacts with Lachmann’s Law). Constraint rankings sufficient to model these interactions, and consistent with the general conditions of the interacting generalisations have been included in the model. The intention is for this work to illustrate both the utility of formal phonological theory in advancing hypotheses within historical-comparative linguistics, and the potential of PyOT as a tool for producing Optimality-Theoretic models of (eventually) a language’s entire phonology.
Supervisor: Lahiri, Aditi ; Willi, Andreas Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Computational Linguistics ; Latin ; optimality theory ; Latin ; phonology ; morphology ; Python ; computational linguistics ; historical linguistics