Saturday, April 14, 2007

TETU: A new interpretation

Joe reports in from a conference (where he has less blogging access than we do here on a fishing trip) that Optimality Theory's famous "TETU", the emergence of the unmarked, has been redefined, in a speech error during a talk:
The Emergency of the Unmarked.
We've got some phonologists readers out there; I want some good examples of how the emergency of the unmarked arises and gets resolved.

Film at 11.

Update 9:51 pm: Joe reports back that the speaker in question was John Scott, a grad student from Indiana who was speaking on Gothic and Sanskrit partial reduplication at the Germanic Linguistics Annual Conference at Penn State. Joe likes the idea of carefully defining the emergency of the unmarked and getting a place for it in the literature. (He also says that trout seasons starts this weekend out there ... maybe I shoulda gone with those Germanic linguists.)


Anonymous said...

When we look back at OT's reign of terror some bard will title the book "The Merchant of the Unmarked".

Joe said...

Mr. Verb — any chance of you bringing back a couple crappie in the back of the truck? Sure sounds good right now.

Anyway, yeah, John Scott said he didn't mind if I passed along his name as the coiner of "The Emergency of the Unmarked", but I'm eager to see the term given some illustration.

Adam Ussishkin said...

I've heard this before as well, in the form of a slip of the tongue in one of my graduate phonology classes a couple years ago. We all got a good laugh over it, but never pursued a working definition of what such an emergency would entail. I've also had my dissertation title mis-cited as "The Emergency of Fixed Prosody". I can only hope that whoever called it that felt as though I had saved the world from such an emergency!

Mr. Verb said...

Wow, thanks; so this IS out there. I poked around and didn't find any evidence of it, and the people I asked thought it was new to them.

I just wish that siren and those red lights would go off ...