Finite-state Optimality Theory: non-rationality of Harmonic Serialism


  • Yiding Hao Yale University


optimality theory, harmonic serialism, phonology, finite-state, tier-based strictly local, subregular


This paper analyzes the language-theoretic complexity of Harmonic Serialism (HS), a derivational variant of Optimality Theory. I show that HS can generate non-rational relations using strictly local markedness constraints, proving the “result” of Hao (2017), that HS is rational under those assumptions, to be incorrect. This is possible because deletions performed in a particular order have the ability to enforce nesting dependencies over long distances. I argue that coordinated deletions form a canonical characterization of non-rational relations definable in HS.


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Author Biography

Yiding Hao, Yale University

Department of Linguistics



How to Cite

Hao, Y. (2019). Finite-state Optimality Theory: non-rationality of Harmonic Serialism. Journal of Language Modelling, 7(2), 49–99.