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Theoretical Linguistics

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Volume 40, Issue 3-4 (Oct 2014)


A monoradical approach to some cases of disuppletion

Karlos Arregi
  • Department of Linguistics, University of Chicago, USA
  • Email:
/ Andrew Nevins
  • University College London, UK
  • Email:
Published Online: 2014-10-04 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/tl-2014-0014


This paper, a commentary on Harley 2014, explores cases of disuppletive roots, such as destroy/destruct, persons/people, and worse/badder, the predominant approach to which is to assume that these come from different roots. We adopt a monoradical approach to such cases, claiming that they always involve the same root, but that the suppletive allomorphy is conditioned by the presence or absence of additional functional heads in the structure. We also posit that defective verbs in Spanish, an extreme case of disuppletion (whereby one of the exponents of this root is ineffable), receive a straightforward analysis as a case of contextually limited allomorphy, following Harley's postulate that certain formatives may have no elsewhere item on either the LF or the PF side (the Encyclopedic List and the Exponent List, respectively).

Keywords: roots; allomorphy; suppletion; late insertion; pluralia tantum nouns; comparative suppletion; backformation; defective verbs; paradigm gaps

About the article

Published Online: 2014-10-04

Published in Print: 2014-10-01

Citation Information: Theoretical Linguistics, ISSN (Online) 1613-4060, ISSN (Print) 0301-4428, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/tl-2014-0014.

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©2014 by Walter de Gruyter Berlin/Munich/Boston. Copyright Clearance Center

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