Skip to main content
Harmonic Grammar with Linear Programming: From Linear Systems to Linguistic Typology
Phonology (2009)
  • Christopher Potts, University of Massachusetts Amherst
  • Joe Pater
  • Karen Jesney, University of Massachusetts Amherst
  • Rajesh Bhatt, University of Massachusetts Amherst
  • Michael Becker, University of Massachusetts Amherst
Harmonic Grammar (HG) is a model of linguistic constraint interaction
in which well-formedness is calculated as the sum of weighted constraint
violations. We show how linear programming algorithms can be used to determine
whether there is a weighting for a set of constraints that fits a set of
linguistic data. The associated software package OT-Help provides a practical
tool for studying large and complex linguistic systems in the HG framework and
comparing the results with those of OT. We first describe the translation from
Harmonic Grammars to systems solvable by linear programming algorithms.
We then develop an HG analysis of ATR harmony in Lango that is, we argue,
superior to the existing OT and rule-based treatments. We further highlight the
usefulness of OT-Help, and the analytic power of HG, with a set of studies of the
predictions HG makes for phonological typology.
  • Harmonic Grammar,
  • Optimality Theory,
  • Linear Programming,
  • Typology,
  • Lango,
  • ATR Harmony,
  • Positional Markedness,
  • Positional Faithfulness
Publication Date
Citation Information
Christopher Potts, Joe Pater, Karen Jesney, Rajesh Bhatt, et al.. "Harmonic Grammar with Linear Programming: From Linear Systems to Linguistic Typology" Phonology Vol. 27 (2009) p. 77 - 117
Available at: