ConCat: A catalogue of constraints

During the second week of the PhonologyFest, earlier this year in Bloomington, Indiana, I shared an apartment with Curt Rice. One night he told me that he had a plan: wouldn’t it be nice to have a catalogue of OT constraints as they have been proposed in the literature? The IPA Guide has a list of symbols, with explanations how they are used, etc.; wouldn’t it be convenient to have such a book for constraints as well? So that you could look up who first proposed a constraint, what the alternatives are, how the constraints had been formalized by various authors, whether there have been similar proposals outside the OT literature, etc.

Talking about this a little bit further, we decided it should be a Wiki rather than a book — a website where everybody can contribute, add constraints, add background information, etc.

During the summer I wrote a few lemmas, in particular I write a first version for a page for the Onset constraint, plus several things which would be linked to such a page. In the mean time, Nathan Sanders, a graduate student at the University of Indiana, installed a Wiki server. We have now opened it.

Do you think this is a good idea? What are possible extensions? You can join ConCat and start building it with us.

5 thoughts on “ConCat: A catalogue of constraints

  1. César González

    I think that this is a great idea.
    ConCat is growing in an interesting way, since the constraints are being presented to the public with different definitions, taken from the litterature.
    It is important to make a reference basis for a site such as this, and in my opinion, when you reffer to articles that are available to a great public, you are building this basis.
    However, I think it is not so easy to navigate in the site.
    Also important, one day it could become a book, what do you think?

  2. Bob Kennedy

    I think this is a great idea, Marc! I remember now I had promised to write up a short history of the Onset Maximization Principle for phonoloblog perhaps a year ago. Since I never got around to it, maybe I’ll sign up and contribute it to the wiki.

  3. Jen Smith

    I emphatically agree that this is a great idea. Having easily accessible information about the origins of different constraints will of course be very convenient. But in addition to that, it looks like ConCat will make it easy to compare different ways that people have defined the “same” constraint — and this will also be an extremely useful feature.

  4. Pingback: phonoloblog » Filling ConCat

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