The ins and outs of contextual allomorphy
Jonathan David Bobaljik
May 2000

This paper investigates the configurations in which one morpheme (or the features it expresses) may serve as the context triggering allomorphy of another morpheme. It is argued, in part contra Carstairs 1987, that a given morpheme may be sensitive either inwards or outwards (i.e., to a morpheme closer to or farther from the root), but that the different directions reflect sensitivity to different types of morphological features, particularly among non-adjacent morphemes. Special attention is paid to allomorphy in the highly complex agreement systems of the Chukotko-Kamchatkan languages. Finally, it is shown that the particular constellation of asymmetries in the allomorphy investigated follows straightforwardly from certain assumptions about the architecture of the grammar and the nature of morphology, key among which being (i) separation/late-insertion: the phonological strings we call affixes are reflections of prior, abstract derivations- morphology interprets syntactic structures, rather than feeding them, (ii) cyclicity: that this interpretive procedure (vocabulary insertion) proceeds root-outwards, and (iii) rewriting: that as morphosyntactic features are expressed by vocabulary items, those features are used up and no longer a part of the representation.
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Reference: lingbuzz/000111
(please use that when you cite this article)
keywords: dm, morphology
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