A Typological Database of Suppletion


The phenomenon of suppletion, as found in English go~went where different inflectional forms of the same lexical item are not related phonologically, has a special place in morphology. Part of its importance is that it sets one of the outer bounds for the notion ‘possible word’ in a human language. It provokes questions about how such forms are to be treated in our theories, and how they are stored (Carstairs-McCarthy 1994). There has been considerable work on suppletion, particularly from Osthoff (1899) onwards. Current interest in the topic is shown by the recent appearance of two dissertations (Veselinova 2003 and Veselinovič 2003). While the body of research is extensive, the range of languages investigated is rather restricted in many publications. In order to stimulate further progress, we have constructed and made available a database (Brown, Chumakina, Corbett and Hippisley 2004). We hope this will help to put future research on a broader empirical base An annotated bibliography is now available (Chumakina 2004); it contains over seventy entries on works written in five different languages (English, French, German, Italian and Russian) and this will give the reader a view of the literature.

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