Suppletion Replication in Grammaticalization and Its Triggering Factors

in Language Dynamics and Change
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The paper tries to account for several instances of emerging suppletion by establishing a cross-linguistic tendency of suppletion replication in grammaticalization. It can be shown that words which acquire new grammatical functions and therefore enter a different class of lexemes tend to copy suppletion patterns already present in other members of this class. This development can be triggered by factors of different nature, either internal to the language in question or rooted in contact between different languages or dialects of the same language. The suppletion replication tendency is demonstrated on several cases of grammaticalization of demonstrative or relative pronouns into 3rd person pronouns. This typologically common development is known to have led to the creation of new suppletion in several languages of Europe. In the present paper, three particularly telling cases from Slavonic, dialects of Lithuanian and early West Germanic dialects spoken on the continent are discussed in detail.

  • 1

    Cf. for instance Beckmann (2002) on suppletion in Low German Bacanlı (2011) on inflectional suppletion in Turkic Veselinović (2003) and Kölligan (2007) on suppletion in the conjugation systems of Irish and Greek respectively or Veselinova’s (1999 2006) typological survey of suppletion in the inflection of verbs.

  • 2

    Cf. Mel’čuk (1976 19942000) Fertig (1998) Hippisley et al. (2004) Corbett (2005 2007 2009).

  • 3

    Cf. most recently Ronneberger-Sibold (1987a) Juge (1999) Nübling (1999 2000: 205–208) Hogg (2003) Čumakina et al. (2004) Wodtko (2005) and Maiden (2004).

  • 6

    Cf. especially Strunk (1977) and Panagl (2000).

  • 29

    Cf. most recently Klein (1999 2000: 27). Traditionally the mixed paradigm of this type is also assumed for the prehistory of West Germanic dialects on the North Sea coast where the allomorphy is believed to be secondarily eliminated by leveling (cf. most recently Lloyd et al. 1998: 1098–1099; Krogh 1996: 320–322 2013: 153; Stiles 2013: 19). This unnecessarily complex scenario however does not seem to be indicated by any observable facts.

  • 44

    Haspelmath (1993) and Mithun (1999). For a slightly different interpretation of the data cf. Hill (2007: 97–106) and most recently García Castillero (2013).

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