Majority Rule in Harmonic Serialism

Andrew Lamont


Majority Rule is an unattested process where agreement is controlled by the largest class in the input. As a function from inputs to outputs, Majority Rule requires more computational expressivity than do attested phonological transformations. This paper examines how Majority Rule arises in parallel Optimality Theory and Harmonic Serialism. It is shown that in HS, Majority Rule relies on globally evaluated output constraints, which are known to produce computationally complex pathologies. However, without them, HS is unable to produce iterative harmony at all. We propose adopting directional constraint evaluation in HS as a way of modeling harmony while maintaining local representations.


Majority Rule; sibilant harmony; Harmonic Serialism; directional constraint evaluation

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Copyright (c) 2019 Andrew Lamont