The Wikipedia entry on Optimality Theory states, that

OT differs from other approaches to phonological analysis, such as autosegmental phonology and linear phonology

Could someone point me to a textbook or a paper which has the same example analayzed by the three approaches side-by-side? Feel free to add an analysis to an existing example. I've seen a similar question, but I'm interested in an example.

1 Answer 1


Unsurprisingly, the Wikipedia claim misstates the situation. OT is a theory of "derivational mechanics", and autosegmental phonology or linear phonology are theories of representation. One therefore find many analyses conducted in OT which assume autosegmental representations, and ones which assume SPE-style representations. Wiki is creating a false trichotomy. Every OT analysis is either "linear" or "autosegmental" (and actually, many analyses are mixed / non-commital).

A rule-based account on the other hand would be in opposition to an OT account. As far as I know, there are no "good" papers which give an actually balanced rule-based vs. constraint-based account. You can find papers that assume one theory and make disparaging remarks about the other account.

  • Thanks, so there are at least four possible combinations? (linear, OT), (autosegmental, OT), (linear, rule), (autosegmental, rule)
    – dimid
    May 13, 2017 at 19:42
  • Yes, all 4 exist (though none of the "main players" in OT have explicitly repudiated autosegmental representations.
    – user6726
    May 13, 2017 at 19:57

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