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Case and number suppletion in pronouns

  • Peter W. Smith
  • Beata Moskal
  • Ting Xu
  • Jungmin Kang
  • Jonathan David Bobaljik
Article
  • 53 Downloads

Abstract

Suppletion for case and number in pronominal paradigms shows robust patterns across a large, cross-linguistic survey. These patterns are largely, but not entirely, parallel to patterns described in Bobaljik (2012) for suppletion for adjectival degree. Like adjectival degree suppletion along the dimension positive < comparative < superlative, if some element undergoes suppletion for a category X, that element will also undergo suppletion for any category more marked than X on independently established markedness hierarchies for case and number. We argue that the structural account of adjectival suppletive patterns in Bobaljik (2012) extends to pronominal suppletion, on the assumption that case (Caha 2009) and number (Harbour 2011) hierarchies are structurally encoded. In the course of the investigation, we provide evidence against the common view that suppletion obeys a condition of structural (Bobaljik 2012) and/or linear (Embick 2010) adjacency (cf. Merchant 2015; Moskal and Smith 2016), and argue that the full range of facts requires instead a domain-based approach to locality (cf. Moskal 2015b). In the realm of number, suppletion of pronouns behaves as expected, but a handful of examples for suppletion in nouns show a pattern that is initially unexpected, but which is, however, consistent with the overall view if the Number head is also internally structurally complex. Moreover, variation in suppletive patterns for number converges with independent evidence for variation in the internal complexity and markedness of number across languages.

Keywords

Suppletion Case Number Dual Pronouns Structure 

Notes

Acknowledgements

Portions of the work on this paper were carried out under the auspices of a Guggenheim Fellowship to Bobaljik, and with research support from the University of Connecticut, both of which are gratefully acknowledged.

We are grateful to Daniel Harbour, Martin Haspelmath and two anonymous reviewers for comments on an earlier version of this paper. Questions and suggestions from audiences at various venues have helped us refine and improve the paper, including those at the LAGB, NELS 45, GLOW 48, Roots IV, SinFonIJA 9, the 2017 Debrecen Workshop in Pronouns, the Word and the Morpheme (Berlin, 2017), as well as at Bucharest, Cambridge, Concordia, Connecticut, Goethe-Universität Frankfurt, Göttingen, Harvard, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Leibniz-Zentrum Allgemeine Sprachwissenschaft (Berlin), Leipzig, Maryland, NYU, Pennsylvania, Princeton, and Vienna. We would particularly like to acknowledge useful discussions with Andrea Calabrese, Heidi Harley, Ora Matushansky, Uli Sauerland, and Susi Wurmbrand.

Supplementary material

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Peter W. Smith
    • 1
  • Beata Moskal
    • 1
  • Ting Xu
    • 2
  • Jungmin Kang
    • 3
  • Jonathan David Bobaljik
    • 4
  1. 1.Goethe-UniversitätFrankfurtGermany
  2. 2.The Chinese University of Hong KongHong KongChina
  3. 3.Queens CollegeCity University of New YorkNew YorkUSA
  4. 4.Harvard UniversityCambridgeUSA

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