Harmonic grammar with linear programming: From linear systems to linguistic typology

Harmonic Grammar (HG) is a model of linguistic constraint interaction in which well-formedness is calculated as the sum of weighted constraint violations. We show how linear programming algorithms can be used to determine whether there is a weighting for a set of constraints that fits a set of linguistic data. The associated software package OT-Help provides a practical tool for studying large and complex linguistic systems in the HG framework and comparing the results with those of OT. We describe the translation from Harmonic Grammars to systems solvable by linear programming, and we illustrate the usefulness of OT-Help with a set of studies of the predictions HG makes for phonological typology.
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