<OT> Shading in tableaux

John J. McCarthy jmccarthy at linguist.umass.edu
Wed Jul 16 17:52:23 PDT 2003

Dear OT-listers,

I am in discussions with a journal about the need for shading in tableaux in a 
paper of mine. I would like to dispense with shading for several reasons, and 
I'm soliciting comments pro and con, at the suggestion of the journal's editor.

My reasons wanting to eliminate shading are these:

(1) It is unnecessary. Shading adds no information that isn't already 
sufficiently conveyed by the exclamation point (!) that marks fatal violations.

(2) It often reproduces badly, either fading to invisibility or darkening so 
much that it obscures the *'s.

(3) It is frequently erroneous. Mistakes in shading are pretty common and can 
certainly confuse readers.

(4) If constraints A and B are unrankable because they are non-conflicting, it's 
not clear how or whether to shade B if A is fatally violated.

(5) Shading often seems to highlight rather than obscure, so it has the opposite 
of the intended visual effect.

Readers of this list with opinions on this matter may wish to direct them to me 
rather than the list as a whole. I will summarize them if there is sufficient 

John McCarthy

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