If Verbal Number is Lo-Low…


  • Abigail Thornton University of Connecticut


Recent studies have provided evidence for participant number governed suppletion (Bobaljik & Harley to appear; Lee 2014); however, there is cross-linguistic evidence that participant number can also be marked by reduplication. For example, in Niuean, plural internal arguments are marked either by suppletion or by reduplication. Reduplication shows that there is a node in the verb word that reflects number, and that plural is not only expressed on the root. I propose a unified structural account for participant number by reduplication and suppletion where there is a number node internal to the verb. Since this node triggers phonological changes on the root (such as root suppletion), this node must be local to the root (Embick 2010) and therefore low with respect to the morphological domain. I will show that both Niuean and Hiaki provide evidence for a vP-internal #-node that is able to (i) mark plural arguments and events and (ii) phonologically affect the root. If this head triggers root suppletion, then a stricter locality condition can be maintained than Bobaljik & Harley’s proposal that verbal suppletion is conditioned directly by a plural internal argument.