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Is there verb suppletion for participant person?


Do some verbs have two or more suppletive allomorphs whose distribution is conditioned by the person of an S, A, or P argument? Suppletive allomorphs are allomorphs which are not similar in pronunciation, i.e. they cannot be related to each other by morpho-phonological rules. This question covers strong suppletion, weak suppletion, and ablaut. There must be at least three such verbs to code 1 for this feature.


  1. Code 1 if at least three verb stems vary according to the person of S, A, and/or P arguments.
  2. Code 1 if the grammar does not list the verbs but says that there are some/a few/several/couple of them.
  3. Code 0 if only one or two examples are provided. Add a comment.


Tainae (ISO 639-3: ago, Glottolog: tain1253)

Tainae is coded 1.

Carlson (1991: 92) provides a non-exhaustive list of seven verbs which have suppletive forms depending on the person of the P argument:

Gloss Root 1SG 2SG 3SG/SU/PL
‘blow magic at’ ninɨtɨyate ntɨsɨtɨyate nɨptɨtɨyate
‘desire’ ninɨtɨyate ntɨsinɨtɨyate nɨwinɨate
‘eat’ nɨnɨmtɨ ntɨnɨmtɨ nɨmtɨ
‘cook’ to numtɨ ntomtɨ tomtɨ
‘kill’ nau numtɨ nomtɨ namtɨ
‘hit’ nae ninemtɨ ntisemtɨ naemtɨ
‘give’ mɨnɨ (ni)nampɨmtɨ ntisapimtɨ mɨnɨptɨmtɨ

Further reading

Haspelmath, Martin & Andrea D. Sims. 2010. Understanding morphology (Understanding Language Series). Second edition. London: Hodder Education. Chapter 2 has a discussion of suppletion.

Veselinova, Ljuba N. 2006. Suppletion in verb paradigms: Bits and pieces of the puzzle. (Typological Studies in Language 67). Amsterdam: John Benjamins.


Carlson, Terry. 1991. Tainae grammar essentials. Ukarumpa, Papua New Guinea: Unpublished typescript, The Summer Institute of Linguistics.

Related Features

Features on suppletion:

Features GB089-GB090 coding indexing patterns:


Alena Witzlack-Makarevich