Prince, Del Busso and Merchant 2016: OTWorkplace Quick Start Guide

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ROA: 1291
Title: OTWorkplace Quick Start Guide
Authors: Alan Prince, Natalie DelBusso, Nazarre Merchant
Length: 68
Abstract: OTWorkplace provides an interactive environment for linguistic research, which calculates, manipulates, and displays the essential objects of OT and Harmonic Serialism. These give the investigator accurate and complete information about ranking and harmonic bounding, as well as extensive information about typologies constructed from well-defined systems of constraints and candidates.


The Quick Start Guide comes in the form of an annotated Excel workbook, a kind of slide show on steroids. In addition to presenting the basic organization and functionality of the program, the Guide includes an interactive easily-filtered table of all the analytical and editing tools that the user has access to. The program itself, along with information about it and about the OT concepts it is based on, may be downloaded from the OTWorkplace website.


Automated violation counting using the standard *-operator, regular expressions, and user-defined functions enables extensive, rapid, and error-free investigation of systems exactly as they are defined. Together with automated candidate generation, this makes heuristic probing a thing of the past. A variety of generators and constraints relevant to the study of prosody are built in.


OTWorkplace produces structured Excel workbooks that are organized into projects, facilitating systematic research. An indexing system makes it easy for the user to keep track of progress, and a global text search utility allows for the retrieval of all notes and observations.


OTWorkplace is entirely open source: all code is present and user-accessible. Scripted in VBA and Ruby, a user can easily modify and expand it for specific research purposes. Basic system requirements are Windows, any version, and Excel, any version. The Installer Package contains everything else that is needed, including Graphviz, Ruby, RUBOT and the master OTWorkplace xlsm file itself.


OTWorkplace was written by Alan Prince, Bruce Tesar, and Nazarre Merchant, with additional programming by Luca Iacoponi and Natalie DelBusso. It is maintained by Prince and Merchant. Queries and observations may be sent to