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What is suppletion?

 

Definition
 

Suppletion is the replacement of one stem with another, resulting in an allomorph of a morpheme which has no phonological similarity to the other allomorphs.

Example (English)
 
  • The following table illustrates stem suppletion:

    Morphological process

    Regular, nonsuppletive stem

    Suppletive stem

    Addition of past tense suffix

    walk—walked

    go—went

    Addition of comparative or superlative suffix

    big—bigger— biggest

    good—better—best

  • The following table illustrates affix suppletion:

    Morphological process

    Regular, nonsuppletive affix

    Suppletive affix

    Addition of plural suffix

    cat—cats

    cherub—cherubim ox —oxen

Kinds
 

Here are some kinds of suppletion:

 
  • Stem suppletion
  • Affix suppletion
Generic
  Suppletion is a kind of
 

Context for this page:

Go to SIL home page This page is an extract from the LinguaLinks Library, Version 5.0 published on CD-ROM by SIL International, 2003. [Ordering information.]

Page content last modified: 5 January 2004

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