GB109 - grambank/grambank Wiki

Original URL:

Is there verb suppletion for participant number?


Are there verbs that use a different stem depending on the number (singular, dual, plural, etc.) of a core participant? The participant triggering the suppletive choice could be A, P, or S. Auxiliary verbs are also considered verbs for the purpose of this feature.

Suppletion is a process where a lexeme is changed in such a way that the new form does not resemble the previous when it appears in a different position in the paradigm. An example of this is English went and go. In this case, the verb is suppletive for tense. Only strong suppletion (different stems) counts. There should be at least three verbs with participant number suppletion to count as 1. If only one or two verbs are described as exhibiting suppletion, code 0. If the author gives two examples but states or implies that it is more common, code 1.

Only so called 'strong suppletion' counts here, 'weak' suppletion is not included.


  1. Check whether the language alters its verbs according to number at all, if not, code 0.
  2. Code 1 if there are three or more examples of verbs with suppletive forms for participant number
  3. If there are one or two examples, consider if the author describes these as special exceptions (in which case, code 0) or part of a larger group (in which case, code 1).
  4. If all examples only feature 'weak suppletion', code 0.
  5. If there is little description of participant marking on verbs in general, code ?.


Koasati (ISO 639-3: cku, Glottolog: koas1236)

In Koasati there exists strong suppletion for number for several verbs, as shown by the examples below from Kimball (1991: 323–324). This qualifies as 1 for this feature.

Verb Singular Dual Plural
‘to dwell’ á:tal áswan i:san
‘to sit’ cokkó:lin chikki:kan i:san
‘to stand’ haccá:lin hikki:lin lokkó:lin
Verb Singular/dual Plural
‘to die’ íllin hápkan
‘to come’ óntin ilmá:kan

Further reading

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


Kimball, Geoffrey D. 1991. Koasati grammar. (Studies in the Anthropology of North American Indians.) Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press.

Related Features


Hedvig Skirgård