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Linguistics Colloquium: Laura Kalin (Princeton)

Friday, January 29, 2021
4:00pm – 6:00pm

Storrs Campus

Infixes really are (underlyingly) prefixes/suffixes: Evidence from allomorphy on the fine timing of infixation

Both allomorphy and infixation introduce complexity into morphological systems, in different ways: 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, Halle 2001, Yu 2007, Samuels 2009; on allomorphy, see e.g. Carstairs 1987, Paster 2006, Veselinova 2006, Mascaró 2007, Bobaljik 2012. These studies present a plethora of ideas about how, when, and why infixation and allomorphy take place, and they make (unstated) predictions about how the two phenomena should interact.

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 infixes. The robustness of these findings supports a universal architecture of the morphosyntax-phonology interface, specifically, the type of serial architecture proposed by Distributed Morphology and related approaches (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 1993a,b, Prince and Smolensky 1993), those that allow the phonology to regulate suppletive allomorph choice (e.g., Mascaró 2007, Wolf 2008, Bermudez-Otero 2012), and those that take infixation to be “direct” (e.g., Inkelas 1990, Yu 2007, Wolf 2008).


Beccy Lewi (

Linguistics Department (primary), Cognitive Science Program, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, Philosophy Department, UConn Master Calendar

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