Suppletion in Verb Paradigms

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This book examines stem change in verb paradigms, as in English <i>go</i> 'go.PRESENT' vs. <i>went</i> 'go.PAST', a phenomenon referred to as <b><i>suppletion</i></b> in current linguistic theory. The work is based on a broad sample of 193 languages, and examines this long neglected phenomenon from a typological perspective. In addition to identifying types of suppletion which occur cross-linguistically, the study brings to light areal patterns of the occurrence of suppletive forms in verb paradigms. Several hypotheses as regards the diachronic development of suppletive forms are presented as well. The author also seeks to explore the methodological issues of evaluating the frequency of linguistic features in large language samples by introducing a method of weighting languages according to their genetic relatedness. All figures obtained in this way are compared to the proportions yielded by more familiar counting methods, and the results and implications of the different procedures are compared and discussed throughout.

Subjects: Typology; Morphology; Semantics

  • Affiliations: 1: Stockholm University, Sweden

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