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Is there verb suppletion for tense or aspect?


Are there verbs that use a different stem depending on the tense or aspect (present, past, perfective etc.) they occur in? 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, ‘weak’ suppletion is not included. At least three verbal concepts should indicate different tense or aspect values with suppletive stems to trigger a 1.


  1. Check whether the language alters its verbs according to tense/aspect at all.
  2. Code 1 if there are three or more examples of verbs with suppletive forms for aspect/tense.
  3. If there are one or two examples, consider whether 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 tense/aspect marking on verbs in general, code ?.


Kumzari (ISO 639-3: zum, Glottolog: kumz1235)

In Kumzari there is a larger number of irregular verbs. Below is a table of some of their forms for the first person singular, based on van der Wal Anonby (2015: 94). Kumzari is coded 1 for this feature.

Verb Perfect Imperfect Irrealis
‘to come’ āmasī tā'ī byī
‘to give’ dāsī byāt
‘to take’ gisī digī grī
‘to become’ būsī tī'ī bī'ī

Further reading

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


van der Wal Anonby, Christina. 2015. A grammar of Kumzari: A mixed Perso-Arabian language of Oman. Leiden: Leiden University. (Doctoral dissertation.)

Related Features

The other verb suppletion features are:


Hedvig Skirgård