Formal Analysis of the MOAT

The Mother of All Tableaux - Nazarré Merchant

Nazarré Merchant [+-]
Eckerd College, St Petersburg, Florida
Nazarré Merchant is an associate professor of mathematics at Eckerd College in St. Petersburg, Florida, and has a Ph.D. in linguistics from Rutgers University.
Alan Prince [+-]
Independent Scholar
Alan Prince has worked on prosody, prosodic morphology, cognitive science of language, and Optimality Theory while teaching at several universities in the United States.


The MOAT is related to another structure, which derives directly from the set of all VTs giving rise to a typology. From this relation, we deduce the main result: that the MOAT uniquely characterizes a typology, uncovering a number of properties of OT grammars along the way. We go on to examine the logical structure that inheres in Border Point Pairs, introducing the ercoid, which provides the hidden microstructure from which the three-valued logic of OT emerges. This is by far the most technical chapter, though the formal ideas involved are of a kind that most linguistics will have encountered. The argument unfolds in a way intended to make the basics available to those who do not wish to see every detail.

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Merchant, Nazarré; Prince, Alan. Formal Analysis of the MOAT. The Mother of All Tableaux. Equinox eBooks Publishing, United Kingdom. Oct 2022. ISBN 9781781798997. Date accessed: 24 Jan 2021 doi: 10.1558/equinox.38357. Oct 2022

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