The Suppletion Thread

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Post by Niedokonany »

Well, Polish has (o - neutral, ♂ - male, ♀ - female, y - young):

sheep: baran, tryk (♂) - owca (o/♀) - jagnię (y)
cattle: bydło (o) - byk (♂) - krowa (♀) - cielak/cielę (y)
dogs: pies (o/♀) - suka (♀) - szczeniak/szczenię (y)
horses: koń (o) - ogier (♂) - klacz (♀) - źrebak/źrebię (y)
chickens: kogut (♂) - kura (o/♀) - kurczak/kurczę (y)

There are of course many more such pairs/triplets/... with different roots, especially in the hunters' jargon. Some of the terms are also shared by several different species, e.g. byk is also a male deer (o jeleń).
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Re: The Suppletion Thread

Post by linguofreak »

Echobeats wrote:
Russian wrote:человек chelovek "person"
люди lyudi "people"


Also interesting is that we also have suppletion here in English with person/people.

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Post by finlay »

Sheep (general) - Ram (m) - Ewe (f) - Lamb (baby) - Mutton (meat)
Cattle (general) - Bull (m) - Cow (general/f) - Calf (baby) - Ox, Steer (castrated) - Beef, Veal (meat)
Dog (general/m) - Bitch (f) - Puppy (baby)
Horse (general) - Stallion, Colt (young) (m) - Mare, Filly (young) (f) - Foal, Yearling (baby) - Gelding (castrated)
Donkey, Ass (general) - Jack (m) - Jenny (f) - Foal, Colt, Filly (baby)
Mule (jack/mare hybrid) - Hinny (stallion/jenny hybrid)
Chicken (general) - Cock, Rooster, Cockerel (young) (m) - Hen, Pullet (young) (f) - Chick (baby) - Capon (castrated)
Deer (general) - Buck, Stag (m) - Doe, Hind (f) - Fawn, Kid, Calf (baby) - Venison (meat)
Goat (general) - Billy, Buck (m) - Nanny, Doe (f) - Kid (baby) - Wether (castrated) - Chevon (meat)
Pig, Hog, Swine (general) - Boar (m) - Sow (f) - Piglet (baby) - Pork, Bacon, Ham, Gammon (meat)
Cat (general) - Tom (m) - Molly (f) - Kitten (baby)
Duck (general) - Drake (m) - Hen (f) - Duckling (baby)
Goose (general/f) - Gander (m) - Gosling (baby)
Swan (general) - Cob (m) - Pen (f) - Cygnet (baby)
Human (general) - Man, Guy, Boy (young), etc (m) - Woman, Lady, Girl (young), etc (f) - Baby, Child, Kid, etc (baby) - Eunuch (castrated)

There are probably more. Of course, English has that oddity (I dunno if others have a similar thing) where the meat of a species comes from the French and the animal's name comes from the Anglo-Saxon. Also I haven't heard of some of these terms, they came off Wikipedia.

And then we can also see some nice semantic shift of certain of these words – although not strictly relevant to the thread. For instance:
Cow: female cattle -> ugly woman
Bitch: female dog -> nasty woman
Ass: donkey -> buttocks
Cock: male chicken -> male genitalia
Hen: female chicken -> woman
Chick: baby chicken -> attractive woman
Kid: baby goat -> child
Pig: pig -> disgusting fat person
Swine: pig -> despicable person
etc
Last edited by finlay on Tue Aug 10, 2010 6:49 pm, edited 4 times in total.

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Re: The Suppletion Thread

Post by Niedokonany »

linguofreak wrote:
Echobeats wrote:
Russian wrote:человек chelovek "person"
люди lyudi "people"


Also interesting is that we also have suppletion here in English with person/people.


There seems to be a general SAE tendency to make the inflectional paradigms of certain words suppletive. E.g. the words for "good" and "bad" have been independently made irregular by various Slavic languages as far as their gradation is concerned, using different roots.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Some fun irregular imperatives from Kusunda:

1st person - imperative - gloss
ts-oˁɴ-ən - qon - drink
ts-i-di - əiga - bring, fetch
ts-əg-ən - da - go
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Post by Radius Solis »

Actually the case of cows/cattle/whatever is different than for the other animals, because we have a bit of a lexical gap. Specifically there's no gender-neutral way to refer to a single member of the species. "Cattle" is plural-only, *one cattle is simply ungrammatical.

And in terms of our prototypical conceptualization of them, males and females are rarely thought of together (unless you live/work around the animals, or around people who do). They might as well be separate species; our farm has horses and cows and goats and chickens and bulls! Sometimes we mistake "cows" for passing as a unisex term, but it really doesn't - the images it evokes are entirely of females. Udders, milk, mooing, docility. It doesn't evoke strength, belligerent charging, rodeos, or the other things that go with our prototype for "bulls".

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Post by Echobeats »

Radius Solis wrote:Actually the case of cows/cattle/whatever is different than for the other animals, because we have a bit of a lexical gap. Specifically there's no gender-neutral way to refer to a single member of the species. "Cattle" is plural-only, *one cattle is simply ungrammatical.

My wife (a New Zealander) insists that cattlebeast (plural cattlebeasts) is a perfectly normal, unmarked, gender-neutral term for Bos taurus.
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Post by Radius Solis »

Cattlebeast? That's right up there with girlchild as a compound that should be taken out back and shot.

:P

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Post by Echobeats »

Radius Solis wrote:Cattlebeast? That's right up there with girlchild as a compound that should be taken out back and shot.

:P

My reaction was similar, but you can't deny it fills the lexical gap. Thankfully, it's much more common for cattlebeasts to be taken out back and shot than for girlchildren.
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Post by finlay »

Radius Solis wrote:Actually the case of cows/cattle/whatever is different than for the other animals, because we have a bit of a lexical gap. Specifically there's no gender-neutral way to refer to a single member of the species. "Cattle" is plural-only, *one cattle is simply ungrammatical.

And in terms of our prototypical conceptualization of them, males and females are rarely thought of together (unless you live/work around the animals, or around people who do). They might as well be separate species; our farm has horses and cows and goats and chickens and bulls! Sometimes we mistake "cows" for passing as a unisex term, but it really doesn't - the images it evokes are entirely of females. Udders, milk, mooing, docility. It doesn't evoke strength, belligerent charging, rodeos, or the other things that go with our prototype for "bulls".

I would use 'cows' as a unisex term. I don't come into contact enough with them for it to make a difference, after all.

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Post by Yuuri »

Many thanks to all for the examples! There are many interesting similarities between different languages, even in figurative meanings.
Next, what about the declension of personal pronouns in Russian?
() (Nom) - (Gen) - (Dat) - (Acc) - (Inst) - (Prep)
(1ps) я - меня - мне - меня - мной - обо мне
(1pp) мы - нас - нам - нас - нами - о нас
(2ps) ты - тебя - тебе - тебя - тобой - о тебе
(2pp) вы - вас - вам - вас - вами - о вас
(3ps, masc) он - его - ему - его - им - о нём
(3ps, fem) она - её - ей - её - ей - о ней
(3ps, neut) оно - его - ему - его - им - о нём
(3pp) они - их - им - их - ими - о них

It's interesting that Old Slavic of IX-X centuries seems to already had about the same.
Again, what about another languages with cases?
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Post by eodrakken »

Radius Solis wrote:Actually the case of cows/cattle/whatever is different than for the other animals, because we have a bit of a lexical gap. Specifically there's no gender-neutral way to refer to a single member of the species. "Cattle" is plural-only, *one cattle is simply ungrammatical.

Can you say "one head of cattle"? Or do you only use that counter when there's more than one animal?

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Post by Travis B. »

eodrakken wrote:
Radius Solis wrote:Actually the case of cows/cattle/whatever is different than for the other animals, because we have a bit of a lexical gap. Specifically there's no gender-neutral way to refer to a single member of the species. "Cattle" is plural-only, *one cattle is simply ungrammatical.

Can you say "one head of cattle"? Or do you only use that counter when there's more than one animal?

One head of cattle is perfectly grammatical to me at least.

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Post by Xephyr »

eodrakken wrote:
Radius Solis wrote:Actually the case of cows/cattle/whatever is different than for the other animals, because we have a bit of a lexical gap. Specifically there's no gender-neutral way to refer to a single member of the species. "Cattle" is plural-only, *one cattle is simply ungrammatical.

Can you say "one head of cattle"? Or do you only use that counter when there's more than one animal?


I'd say yes.
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Post by finlay »

Yuuri wrote:Many thanks to all for the examples! There are many interesting similarities between different languages, even in figurative meanings.
Next, what about the declension of personal pronouns in Russian?
() (Nom) - (Gen) - (Dat) - (Acc) - (Inst) - (Prep)
(1ps) я - меня - мне - меня - мной - обо мне
(1pp) мы - нас - нам - нас - нами - о нас
(2ps) ты - тебя - тебе - тебя - тобой - о тебе
(2pp) вы - вас - вам - вас - вами - о вас
(3ps, masc) он - его - ему - его - им - о нём
(3ps, fem) она - её - ей - её - ей - о ней
(3ps, neut) оно - его - ему - его - им - о нём
(3pp) они - их - им - их - ими - о них

It's interesting that Old Slavic of IX-X centuries seems to already had about the same.
Again, what about another languages with cases?

I'm not sure these are suppletion, not in the sense we mean, anyway. Suppletion isn't a catch-all term for any irregularity, after all.

Also these Russian pronouns show obvious reflexes elsewhere in IE languages; I/ego/jag/ég/je, me/etc., tu/du, vous/vos, nous. Here the only suppletive ones seem to be 'я' and 'мы', and 'I' is certainly suppletive in most IE languages. As for the third person, -a for feminine, -o for neuter/masculine and -i for plural is common in other IE languages too.

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Post by Yuuri »

Wiki still says that it's a suppletion.
...for example, он and его are originally forms of two different Slavic pronouns, онъ 'that one' and и 'this one, he'.

(translation from http://ru.wikipedia.org/wiki/Супплетивизм)
Also these Russian pronouns show obvious reflexes elsewhere in IE languages <...>

This is reasoned, thanks. But what about non-IE languages?
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Post by Radius Solis »

There seems to be some disagreement over what counts as suppletion... According to wikipedia and what I've generally heard before, strictly it means cases where the different roots are not cognates. However I have repeatedly seen it used in literature for instances of cognates that are related historically but not by any predictable synchronic rule, and instances that are related historically but no longer bear the slightest resemblance to each other.

Certain American families are rife with the latter sort of "suppletion" or "weak suppletion". In languages of the Numic branch of Uto-Aztecan - e.g. Paiute, or Comanche - we find not just a handful but many hundreds of stems that supplete for grammatical number. Most of it is probably not suppletion in the strict sense, but it seems to be normal in Numic studies to call them suppletive anyway, because the relationship between the roots in each pair has simply been obliterated. I wish I had actual examples at hand but I don't; I at least distinctly remember reading through a list of two or three dozen of these suppletive pairs for Comanche and noticing that often not a single sound remained shared. Nevertheless, probably most or all of them derive from proto-Uto-Aztecan reduplicative plurals.

If I recall correctly some Muskogean languages have a similar situation going on... but suppleting for three grammatical numbers, sg-dl-pl.

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Post by finlay »

Yuuri wrote:Wiki still says that it's a suppletion.
...for example, он and его are originally forms of two different Slavic pronouns, онъ 'that one' and и 'this one, he'.

(translation from http://ru.wikipedia.org/wiki/&#1057;&#1091;пплетивизм)
Also these Russian pronouns show obvious reflexes elsewhere in IE languages <...>

This is reasoned, thanks. But what about non-IE languages?

I dunno, but they're not related to Russian!

Anyway, wiki-what? wikipedia? because that's not called "Wiki". Or I don't particularly like it when people do call it that...

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Post by ná'oolkiłí »

Radius Solis wrote:If I recall correctly some Muskogean languages have a similar situation going on... but suppleting for three grammatical numbers, sg-dl-pl.


Mithun's Languages of North America (p. 85) gives some examples of roots that supplete based on number of participants in the Muskogean language Koasati.

root meaning / singular / dual / plural
'stand' / haccá:lin / hikkí:lin / lokkó:lin
'sit' / cokkó:lin / cikkí:kan / í:san
'dwell' / á:tan / áswan / í:san
'die' / íllin / íllin / hápkan
'go' / ałí:yan / ałí:yan / amá:kan
'run' / walí:kan / tółkan / tółkan
'pick one/more up' / í:sin / píhlin / píhlin
'put one/more in' / hókfin / áłlin / áłlin

I couldn't find anything about suppletion in Numic languages, though.

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Post by Echobeats »

finlay wrote:Anyway, wiki-what? wikipedia? because that's not called "Wiki". Or I don't particularly like it when people do call it that...

+1. A wiki is a kind of website, of which wikipedia is the best-known.

na'oolkili wrote:Mithun's Languages of North America (p. 85) gives some examples of roots that supplete based on number of participants in the Muskogean language Koasati.

root meaning / singular / dual / plural
'stand' / haccá:lin / hikkí:lin / lokkó:lin
'sit' / cokkó:lin / cikkí:kan / í:san
'dwell' / á:tan / áswan / í:san
'die' / íllin / íllin / hápkan
'go' / ałí:yan / ałí:yan / amá:kan
'run' / walí:kan / tółkan / tółkan
'pick one/more up' / í:sin / píhlin / píhlin
'put one/more in' / hókfin / áłlin / áłlin

I couldn't find anything about suppletion in Numic languages, though.

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Post by TomHChappell »

Radius Solis wrote:There seems to be some disagreement over what counts as suppletion... According to wikipedia and what I've generally heard before, strictly it means cases where the different roots are not cognates. However I have repeatedly seen it used in literature for instances of cognates that are related historically but not by any predictable synchronic rule, and instances that are related historically but no longer bear the slightest resemblance to each other.

I have read that the old English past tense of go, namely eode, was already suppletive. Certainly the modern past tense, namely went, migrated from the paradigm of the verb wend (meaning "to change direction of travel to a particular direction; or, to start moving in a particular direction")*.
How about those? Would you say "went" is a suppletive past tense for "go" now? Would you say "eode" was a suppletive past tense for "go" back in the day?

*thus: "he wends home(ward)" means "he's starting towards home"; "he went home(ward)" meant "he moved towards home".

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Post by finlay »

TomHChappell wrote:
Radius Solis wrote:There seems to be some disagreement over what counts as suppletion... According to wikipedia and what I've generally heard before, strictly it means cases where the different roots are not cognates. However I have repeatedly seen it used in literature for instances of cognates that are related historically but not by any predictable synchronic rule, and instances that are related historically but no longer bear the slightest resemblance to each other.

I have read that the old English past tense of go, namely eode, was already suppletive. Certainly the modern past tense, namely went, migrated from the paradigm of the verb wend (meaning "to change direction of travel to a particular direction; or, to start moving in a particular direction")*.
How about those? Would you say "went" is a suppletive past tense for "go" now? Would you say "eode" was a suppletive past tense for "go" back in the day?

Ummmm.... yeah. This is pretty unequivocal. To be fair, I'd need to know more information about "eode", because I haven't seen it before and don't know what the OE verb for "go" looked like. But assuming it looks similar to the PDE word "go", yeah, pretty much suppletive.

Went is suppletive because it comes from a different root etymologically. This is the definition of suppletion.

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Post by Soap »

Salmoneus wrote: Angoram has lunatic suppletion at times, but I could be confusing it with another language of a similar name - sadly, can't find the details this time.
Angoram is pretty crazy. I'd be happy to see any information of any kind about it.

Ass (donkey) and ass (bum) are actually two independent IE roots, not a case of one word acquiring two meanings. Although it's said that the American use of 'ass' instead of 'arse' (the original) is basically a euphemism, so you could consider it to be the same word as ass(donkey).

Also, I think Ive heard that the examples used at the very beginning of this thread (ferro/tuli/latum) are believed to be cognates if you go way back to IE, and it's just that Latin dropped a lot of consonants. e.g. latum was tlatum or something. Im not sure if ferro is also part of the group or if that one is truly a different root. I suspect it goes back to PIE *bher, so my guess would be no.
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Post by TomHChappell »

finlay wrote:Ummmm.... yeah. This is pretty unequivocal. To be fair, I'd need to know more information about "eode", because I haven't seen it before and don't know what the OE verb for "go" looked like. But assuming it looks similar to the PDE word "go", yeah, pretty much suppletive.

Went is suppletive because it comes from a different root etymologically. This is the definition of suppletion.


Talking about the mechanism by which such suppletion arises:

"He went home" originally was a proper answer for "Whither (i.e. which way) did he go?". It was not originally a proper answer for "Where (i.e to what place) did he go?"

But when an addressee was asked "where did he go?", if the addressee did not know where the subject wound up but did know in what direction the subject was going the last time the addressee saw the subject, the addressee wouldn't (according to Grice's maxims) answer "How the hell should I know where he wound up? He went out of my sight and I turned my back on him"; rather, the subject would answer "He went (i.e. turned his steps toward) home", thus giving the asker as much information as the addressee had that was relevant to the question the addressee reasonably assumed the asker wanted an answer to.

--------------------------------------

How do/did the various IE languages' paradigms for the verbs for "be" and "become" arise?

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Post by Ulrike Meinhof »

TomHChappell wrote:"He went home" originally was a proper answer for "Whither (i.e. which way) did he go?". It was not originally a proper answer for "Where (i.e to what place) did he go?"

Is this really how the distinction between "where" and "whither" worked? In the related Swedish, which retains the contrast (at least in the standard), both of those questions would use the equivalent of "whither", since both ask for a direction. "Where" would mean something like "In which place did he walk around without going anywhere?" (but is of course in practice just nothing you would say).
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Post by Soap »

I lived on a beef farm for a year or so which had both male and female cows. The owner referred to them as "cows" and never anything else, but it's possible he was just making it simple for us city people.

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