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Linguistics Colloquium: Laura Kalin, Assistant Professor, Linguistics Princeton University

MAY 06, 2021 | 4:15 PM TO 6:15 PM



Online Event


May 06, 2021: 4:15 PM-6:15 PM




Laura Kalin, Assistant Professor, Linguistics Princeton University presents:

Evidence from allomorphy of (and around) infixes on the fine timing of the morphosyntax-phonology interface

Abstract:  Both allomorphy and infixation introduce complexity into morphological systems: allomorphy involves a many-to-one correspondence between form and meaning/function, and infixation disrupts the linear integrity of forms. Both are found across the world’s languages, and have been the subject of much empirical inquiry and theorizing—on infixation, see e.g. Ultan 1975, Moravcsik 1977, 2000, McCarthy and Prince 1993, Halle 2001, Yu 2007; on allomorphy, see e.g. Carstairs 1987, Paster 2006, Veselinova 2006, MascaroĢ 2007, Bobaljik 2012.

This talk presents the results of the first cross-linguistic study of allomorphy involving infixation, considering 51 case studies from 42 languages (15 language families). The two phenomena interact in consistent, systematic ways, with distinct sets of behaviors characterizing suppletive and non-suppletive allomorphy involving an infix. Perhaps most notably, suppletive allomorphy is conditioned only at the stem edge, while non-suppletive allomorphy is conditioned only in the surface (infixed) environment. This talk also briefly turns to a smaller study (8 languages) of allomorphy around the site of infixation, which finds that suppletive allomorphy is never disrupted by infixation, while non-suppletive allomorphy may be.

Taken together, the findings support a universal architecture of the morphosyntax-phonology interface where exponence and infixation proceed from the bottom of the morphosyntactic structure upward; this can be naturally accommodated in the type of serial architecture proposed by Distributed Morphology and related approaches (e.g., Halle and Marantz 1993, 1994, Embick 2010, Bye and Svenonius 2012). The findings run counter to the predictions of fully parallel models (e.g., McCarthy and Prince 1993, Prince and Smolensky 1993), those that allow the phonology to regulate suppletive allomorph choice (e.g., MascaroĢ 2007, Wolf 2008, Bermudez-Otero 2012), and those that take infixation to be “direct” (e.g., Inkelas 1990, Yu 2007, Wolf 2008).

This is an online event. Register online to receive the Zoom link. All are welcome!