Production and comprehension in context

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<i>Freezing</i> refers to a loss of word order freedom found across typologically very different languages. It occurs when argument identifying mechanisms such as agreement and case do not sufficiently distinguish verbal arguments. Word order can in such situations be said to be exceptionally used to unambiguously distinguish the arguments. In the optimality-theoretic literature it has been shown that a bidirectional grammar can elegantly capture this word order freezing. Bidirectional optimality-theoretic grammar, however, does not typically deal well with ambiguity and optionality. This leads to problems in modeling word order, where these two types of variation do appear. In this paper, I will show that by adopting a notion of grammaticality in Optimality Theory we shall call <i>stratified strong bidirectionality</i> and by looking more seriously at the role of the context and argument markedness in comprehension, we can successfully model both word order freezing and word order freedom in bidirectional Optimality Theory.


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