Past NSF Grant: Investigations in Optimality Theory

Investigations in Optimality Theory: Typology, Learning, and Modeling (NSF BCS-0813829, 2008–2013), directed by John McCarthy and Joe Pater, focused on the development of Harmonic Serialism (HS) and Harmonic Grammar (HG). HS is a version of OT with richer derivations and HG is a version of OT in which ranked constraints are replaced by weighted ones. The main aim of the grant was to investigate whether these two changes to the standard version of OT, separately or jointly, would lead to improved typological predictions. To aid this investigation, we developed OT-Help 2.0, freely-available cross-platform software written in java. We also developed tools for the study of the learning of weighted constraint grammars, including serial ones, in the popular statistical software R.