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Year : 2015  |  Volume : 29  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 13-20

Optimality theory and assessment of developing and disordered phonologies

Department of English Language, Imam Khomeini International University, Gazvin, Iran

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Froogh Shooshtaryzadeh
Department of English Language, Imam Khomeini International University, Gazvin
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0974-2131.185975

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Optimality theory (OT) is a comparatively recent linguistic theory which has been introduced in the early 1990s. OT's description of children's error patterns as patterns that are derived from a hierarchy of conflicting universal constraints has much higher explanatory power than the underlying phonological representations posited by generative phonology which focused only on production. This tutorial article aims to introduce speech clinicians some information about the basic architecture and formalities of OT and highlights some of its advantages over rule-based generative approaches in different linguistic contexts. The article begins with a brief definition of (functional) phonological disorder and explains the basic components of OT and its proposed model of language development in relation to first language acquisition. Finally, the role of OT and standard generative phonology in the assessment of phonological errors produced by children with atypical phonological development is illustrated using empirical data based on Persian language.

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