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dirk elzinga wrote:
> The significance lies in what the theory forces you to posit as the
> phoneme. Ideally, there should be *one* possible phonemic solution.

But isn't the phoneme simply the category that contains various phones,
rather than the label given to said category?

> In OT, constraints only hold on the surface forms; constraints are not
> allowed to operate on the underlying forms. If nothing may be excluded
> from underlying forms, then it is possible to have underlying forms
> which are fully specified, radically underspecified, or anything in
> between. When I posit /b/ in underlying form (or /p/ or /B/ or /F/),
> it is not "code" for the underspecified representation [+labial,
> -nasal]; it really is /b/ (or /p/ or /B/ or /F/) in all of its fully
> specified glory. This principle (the freedom of underlying
> representation) is referred to in the OT literature as "Richness of
> the Base". However, it has received surprisingly little attention,
> partly because it is radical break from traditional phonemic analysis.
> It *is* a tough pill to swallow, but if you take the OT idea seriously
> that phonotactic constraints should only hold on the surface, Richness
> of the Base is the inevitable outcome.

I still fail to see how this is different from a phoneme.  It seems more
like a slight modification of the phoneme concept than a radically new
concept.

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