LaTeX package for OT tableaux

I’ve just finished writing the first version of OTtablx, a sorely-needed LaTeX package that draws nicer OT tableau than is possible with the standard tabular environment.

The package is in very early beta, so it is expected to be buggy and not completely functional. However, it already is fairly robust with a few nice features, and it should be perfectly fine for limited, uncomplicated use.

Download it, try it out, break it, and let me know what you find out. I’m also interested in hearing what features you would like to see in future versions.

Feel free to discuss the package here, or to just send me comments privately by email. The full URL for the OTtablx homepage is, which has links both to the package itself and to useful documentation.


7 thoughts on “LaTeX package for OT tableaux

  1. Michael Becker

    I haven’t tried the package yet, but the documentation looks exciting. Tableaux with rounded corners are really pretty.

    I would love to see a version of this package that supports comparative tableaux that are annotated with violation marks. You can see what I mean in Alan Prince’s “Arguing Optimality” (ROA-562), pages 29 and 30. Putting the W or L in the center and the subscripted violation count on the left without a special package is a pain.

  2. Michael Becker

    Thanks for the reminder, Eric. I think it’s important to note that to my knowledge, Nathan’s is currently the only LaTaX package for producing OT tableaux. Using a specialized package has the major benefit of being intergrated into one’s LaTeX code.

    The Lyx tutorial is great for those who use Lyx, not for those who like their LaTeX raw. Eychenne’s OTableau and Eisner’s Shade are great utilities that deserve to be reviewed in full; I just want to note that they are not LaTeX packages.

  3. Maria

    All good points. LyX will not make you happy if you like to write in straight TeX or LaTeX, nor was it designed with such users in mind. LyX also does not offer anything extra except for the WYSIWYG experience; the packages you use are the same ones as in straight LaTeX. Something like Nathan’s package would probably not be useful in LyX, since it defeats the purpose of WYSIWYG to format tableaux in a separate, non-graphic environment. Though you presumably could use it in LyX if you wanted to.

    There is something I do not understand about OTableau et al. What is the purpose of a utility that figures out shading and where to place stars in a tableau? Hasn’t the phonologist already worked out which rankings are crucial in the analysis?

  4. Nathan Sanders

    In answer to Maria’s question about automated calculations of tableau properties, all I can say is that some phonologists are better than others. ;)

    OTtablx v0.2 is now available, which has many new features, including comparative tableaux, as requested by Michael.

    Thanks for the mention of the competition, Eric. It gives me an opportunity to point out that, as far as I know, all three of the competitors make use of the basic LaTeX tabular environment, which doesn’t quite match up to the fancier look capable in Word. OTtablx is my attempt to simulate the look of Word’s tableaux in LaTeX. To my knowledge, the competitors don’t do anything to change the look of tableux, they just make it easier to input them into the same basic format.

    Hope this helps clears things up!

  5. Nathan Sanders

    For those who are interested, I posted v0.3.1 recently. This is a pretty stable and robust release that should do pretty much anything you’d need for typical tableaux. There should also be no more package conflicts or major bugs remaining, so future releases will likely focus primarily on any new features that you, the users, request.

  6. Nathan Sanders

    This is an update to let interested parties know that the OTtablx package has a new home:

    The package itself hasn’t changed in years, and I’ll likely upgrade it to “stable non-beta” status at some point in the near future. There are still a few tweaks I’d like to make, but I doubt I’ll get around to them until at least the summer.

    Thanks to Michael Becker for setting up the new location!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *