Cumulative constraint interaction and the equalizer of OT and HG

Anna Mai, Eric Bakovic


We show that, in general, Optimality Theory (OT) grammars containing a restricted family of locally-conjoined constraints (Smolensky 2006) make the same typological predictions as corresponding Harmonic Grammar (HG) grammars. We provide an intuition for the generalization using a simple constrast and neutralization typology, as well as a formal proof. This demonstration adds structure to claims about the (non)equivalence of HG and OT with local conjunction (Legendre et al. 2006, Pater 2016) and provides a tool for understanding how different sets of constraints lead to the same typological predictions in HG and OT.


Optimality Theory; Harmonic Grammar; cumulative constraint interaction; constraint ganging; typology

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Copyright (c) 2020 Anna Mai, Eric Bakovic

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