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The Power of Locality Domains in Phonology

Graf, Thomas

Abstract Domains play an integral role in linguistic theories. This paper combines locality domains with current work on the computational complexity of phonology. The first result is that if a specific formalism —- Strictly Piecewise (SP) grammars —- is supplemented with a mechanism to enforce first-order definable domain restrictions, its power increases so much that it subsumes almost the full hierarchy of subregular languages. However, if domain restrictions are based on linguistically natural intervals, one instead obtains an empirically more adequate model. On the on hand, this model subsumes only those subregular classes that have been argued to be relevant for phonotactic generalizations. On the other hand, it excludes unnatural generalizations that involve counting or elaborate conditionals. It is also shown that SP grammars with interval-based domains are theoretically learnable unlike SP grammars with arbitrary, first-order domains.

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  author = {Graf, Thomas},
  title = {The Power of Locality Domains in Phonology},
  year = {2017},
  journal = {Phonology},
  volume = {34},
  pages = {385--405},
  doi = {10.1017/S0952675717000197},
  url = {}