Joe Pater

Dear Alan,

Amongst your many gifts to our intellectual heritage is the Rutgers Optimality Archive. I am so glad that I came of age as a phonologist in the time when institutional affiliation started to become a weaker signal of belonging to a particular theoretical tribe, since you no longer had to rely on access to poorly circulated papers to learn about people’s newest work. It is the spirit of this free and open exchange of ideas that I’m contributing this link to a discussion page started after a recent workshop on Optimality Theory.

Congratulations on your retirement, and thank you for everything!


PS I’d also like to share an anecdote: After the “Is the best good enough?” workshop, Alan was playing air guitar at the party. I noticed that he was playing in a way that indicated he could also play a real guitar, something that is rare of air guitarists. I congratulated him on his technique, and admitted that I played guitar too. He immediately took me over and introduced me to Eric Baković, which led to some memorable basement jam sessions. I never had the pleasure of jamming with Alan though — I hope that changes sometime soon.