Inward and outward allomorph selection: An overview
Nicholas Rolle
October 2021

This chapter provides an overview of directionality relations in allomorphy selection. One type is 'inward-conditioning', where the trigger is in a structurally outer position compared to the target of allomorphy (i.e. it is further away from the lexical head of the construction). This type can also be referred to as 'outward-sensitivity'. Its counterpart is 'outward-conditioning', where it is the trigger which is in an inner position and the target in an outer position (it can also be referred to as 'inward-sensitivity'). A number of typologically diverse cases are presented to illustrate directional asymmetries in allomorphy selection. One robust generalization involves 'grammatically-conditioned allomorphy', in which the trigger is a morphosyntactic feature (e.g. [PLURAL]), feature bundle (e.g. [3.SG.FEM]), or category (e.g. [TENSE]). In this type of allomorphy, both inward-conditioning and outward-conditioning are widespread, showing a clear directional symmetry. In contrast, other types of allomorphy such as 'lexically-conditioned' (the trigger is a particular lexical root), 'morphologically-conditioned' (a purely morphological feature, e.g. conjugation class), and 'phonologically-conditioned allomorphy' show a clear directional asymmetry. Here, allomorph selection almost always involves outward-conditioning, i.e. the trigger is in an inner position. Cases of inward-conditioning are rare and controversial. Taken all together, the propensity for triggers to be inward compared to targets is called the 'directional asymmetry in allomorphy selection'.
Format: [ pdf ]
Reference: lingbuzz/005806
(please use that when you cite this article)
Published in: Book chapter (accepted) In P. Ackema, S. Bendjaballah, E. Bonet, & A. Fábregas (Eds.), The Wiley Blackwell Companion to Morphology
keywords: allomorphy, directionality, suppletion, cyclic exponence, typology, morphological theory, morphology
previous versions: v2 [September 2021]
v1 [March 2021]
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