Date of Completion


Embargo Period



suppletion, morphology, phonology, morphophonology, dominant prefixes, universals

Major Advisor

Jonathan Bobaljik

Co-Major Advisor

Harry van der Hulst

Associate Advisor

Andrea Calabrese

Associate Advisor


Field of Study



Doctor of Philosophy

Open Access

Open Access


In this dissertation, I show that a difference in structure between functional and lexical items has a restricting effect on both the morphology and the phonology. Morphologically, we observe two asymmetries: (i) in lexical nouns, number-driven root-suppletion is common whilst case-driven root-suppletion is virtually unattested; (ii) in contrast, pronouns commonly supplete for both number and case. By and large, we see the same pattern in verbs, observing a contrast between lexical verbs and auxiliaries with regard to suppletion for aspect and tense. In order to account for these asymmetries, I appeal to structural differences between lexical and functional material, combined with locality effects as proposed in Distributed Morphology (Halle & Marantz 1993). Crucially, lexical material contains a category-defining node which has a delimiting effect that causes case/tense to be insufficiently local to the root to condition its suppletion. In contrast, functional material lacks category-defining nodes and thus no delimiting effect is observed and case/tense are free to condition suppletion of the functional base. Phonologically, we see a correlation between the presence of a category-defining node and the absence of dominant prefixes in vowel harmony and lexical accent, whilst in the absence of a category-defining node dominant prefixes are attested. Thus, I argue for universal limitations on suppletion patterns and dominant prefixes, which crucially derive from a difference in morpho-syntactic structure between lexical and functional material.