Roberts/HT 2013 Week 6


Exercise — Factorial Typology

(Based on an exercise by Ricardo Bermúdez-Otero)

Construct a factorial typology of the following constraints:

(See Lombardi 1999 for background).

Since the set consists of four constraints, it gives rise to 4! = 4 × 3 × 2 × 1 = 24 different rankings. However, you do not need to check each ranking separately. For example, OnsIdent-[voice] is active only in rankings such as OnsIdent-[voice] ≫ C ≫ Ident-[voice].

When you test the predictions of a particuar ranking, you may find it useful to analyze the behaviour of four possible input structures:

  1. voiced word-final obstruents, e.g. /aɡ/
  2. voiced-voiceless medial clusters, e.g. /aɡ.ta/
  3. voiceless-voiced medial clusters, e.g. /ak.da/
  4. voiced-voiced medial clusters, e.g. /aɡ.da/

There are in fact six different distributional patterns that the constraints you have can give rise to, depending how they are ranked. Find as many of them as you can, and demonstrate each with a representative tableau.


Lombardi, Linda (1999) “Positional faithfulness and voicing assimilation in Optimality Theory.Natural Language and Linguistic Theory 17:267‒302.