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Multiple Exponence of Number via Suppletion in Tuparí, an Indigenous Brazilian Language

Adam Singerman
Fri May 21st 2021, 1:30 - 3:00pm
Online (Zoom)

Please jlg363 [at] (email )for Zoom link.


Tuparí, a Tupían language spoken in the Brazilian Amazon, displays extensive agreement with the number of the sentential subject on auxiliary verbs, on two classes of lexical verbs (existentials and verbs of motion), and on the resultative and evidential suffixes. As a result the number of the subject can be overtly expressed, within a single clause, by up to four different morphemes within the verbal Extended Projection. The purpose of this talk is to investigate whether the suppletive expression of number in Tuparí can be modeled using the same mechanism (namely, locally conditioned allomorphy) that has been employed by Heidi Harley and colleagues in analyses of Hiaki and other Uto-Aztecan languages. I argue that the Tuparí facts appear to require use of the Agree mechanism, especially in the case of syntactically high sentential auxiliaries that show suppletion and in the evidential/resultative auxiliaries. The upshot is that suppletion as it has been defined by Mel'cuk and other morphological typologists does not map cleanly onto a single mechanism within the architecture of Distributed Morphology.