autumn 2018
LIN-8008 Analyzing linguistic typologies with OTWorkplace & Property Theory - 5 ECTS

Last changed 29.01.2019

Application deadline

PhD student at UiT apply for admission by registering for class by September 15th.

Other applicants apply in Sønadsweb by September 15th. Application code 9305.

Type of course

The course may be taken as a single course.

Admission requirements

The course has 12 seats. If the number of applicants exceeds the number of places available on the PhD course, applicants will be ranked from category 1 to 4.

Category 1: People admitted to the PhD Programme at UiT

Category 2: Participants in the Associate Professor Programme that fulfil the educational requirements

Category 3: Doctoral students from other universities

Category 4: People with a minimum of a Master´s Degree (or equivalent). (A Norwegian Master´s Degree of 5 years or 3 (Bachelor Degree) + 2 years (Master¿s Degree).

Course content

Analyses of typological data become increasingly complex. However, Optimality Theory (OT) offers the unique possibility to calculate the crosslinguistic predictions of a formal analysis of a certain phenomenon, that is, a theory¿s extensional space. The calculations of such predictions, i.e., of factorial typologies, can be a tiresome and near to impossible exercise depending on the number of constraints considered. OTWorkplace is a software, designed to work with OT analyses, which offers automated calculations of such typologies.

Property Theory is a tool for the analysis of typological variation, designed to lead to a deeper understanding of the structural relations between languages and grammars in a typology.

The course will be divided into three parts. In one part students will be made familiar with OTWorkplace and its functions, in the second part they will be introduced to Property Theory and in the last part the students will develop their own PT analyses of some linguistic phenomenon with crosslinguistic variation (e.g., case systems, quantity sensitivity...) with the help of the lecturers and OTWorkplace.

Objectives of the course

The students have the following learning outcomes:



The student has: a basic understanding of the workings of the OYWorkplace software package.

The student knows and understands the core ideas and notions of Property Theory.



The student is able to / can:

- install OTWorkplace on a pc.

- input Candidates and Constraints

- calculate a factorial typology

- compute a property analysis of a given OT typology.

Language of instruction


Teaching methods

There will be a seminar on OTWorkplace, a lecture on Property Theory and a tutorial.

The course is taught by Associate Professor Birgit Alber (U of Verona),

Associate Professor Nazarré Merchant (Eckerd College, Florida) and

Professor Emeritus Alan Prince (Rutgers University, New Jersey)


Coursework requirement:

The following coursework requirements must be completed and approved in order to take the final exam:

- OT workbook of a typology

Assessment and examination:

Write a 2000-word paper on a chosen topic following the course, the topic must be approved by the instructors (one inch margins, standard: 1 ½ spacing, 12 font size).  The paper is to be written in English. The terms of assessment for examination: pass/fail. There will not be arranged a re-sit exam for this course.

  • About the course
  • Campus: Tromsø |
  • ECTS: 5
  • Course code: LIN-8008