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Does the verb for ‘come’ have suppletive verb forms?


This question concerns strong suppletion in verbs of coming. 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. ‘Weak’ suppletion is not included.


  1. Look up the section on verbs of coming.
  2. If no such section exists, search for the words ‘come’ and ‘arrive’.
  3. If the verb paradigm for ‘come’ is not described, code as ?.
  4. If the verb ‘come’ is described as being regularly conjugated or non-variant, code as 0.
  5. If the verb ‘come’ is suppletive anywhere, code as 1.


Samoan (ISO 639-3: smo, Glottolog: samo1305)

Samoan has suppletive forms for ‘come’ corresponding to different number values of the S or A argument (Milner 1966: 202). Coincidentally, this makes the plural form ambiguous for ‘come’ and ‘go’. Samoan is coded 1 for this feature.

singular plural
‘come’ sau ō
‘go’ alu ō

Further reading

Dressler, Wolfgang. 1985. Suppletion in word-formation. In Jacek Fisiak (ed.), Historical morphology, 97–112. The Hague: Mouton.

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

Veselinova, Ljuba N. 2013. Suppletion according to tense and aspect. In Matthew S. Dryer & Martin Haspelmath (eds), The world atlas of language structures online. Leipzig: Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology.


Milner, George Bertram. 1966. Samoan dictionary. Aotearoa, New Zealand: Polynesian Press.

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