The present article is a brief overview of some of the papers that have recently attempted to apply Optimality Theory (OT) to word-formation. After an introduction to the main ideas of OT, a survey of some of the most important constraints on word-formation processes is presented. Against the background of two French nouns, 'avionneur' and 'campaniste', widely discussed in Dal & Namer (2005) and J. Stichauer (2006), respectively, it is argued that an OT account that would go beyond the well-established phonological constraints, trying to integrate some of the semantic ones, would encounter problems. In fact, it is not clear under what ranking and under what exact constraints other possible outputs (e.g. 'avionniste' versus 'avionneur', 'campanier' versus 'campaniste') are to be evaluated. Nevertheless, the idea of constraint interaction, based on a ranking of violable restrictions, is emphasized as an interesting framework quite different from the classic rule/exception dichotomy.
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