In certain papers on Optimality Theory (e.g. this paper by McCarthy, or this) the tableaus contain the notations *L and *W, as seen in the image below:

enter image description here

What is meant by these notations? The second paper I linked to used these examples if you want to see the kinds of contexts they're used in.

1 Answer 1


When a tableau is comparing two candidates, a W indicates that the constraint in that column favors the winning candidate, while an L indicates that it favors the losing candidate.

In the example above, Candidate A is the loser and Candidate B is the winner. FAITH(Neg) favors the winner, since the winner violates it zero times and the loser violates it once. On the other hand, *Neg favors the loser, since the loser violates it once while the winner violates it twice.

See page 7, paragraph 3 of the McCarthy paper for further explanation.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.