LINGUIST List 3.541

Tue 30 Jun 1992

Qs: Double Morphology, Irish Speakers

Editor for this issue: <>


  1. , double morphology
  2. John Varden, Irish speakers

Message 1: double morphology

Date: 30 Jun 92 12:08
From: <>
Subject: double morphology

Last week I aksed about the occurrence of English double plurals like


I received seven responses (thanks to Laurie Bauer, Bill Bennett, Robert L.
Davis, John Koontz, Paul Saka, Rand Valentine), which roughly agree in
their judgments:

 sisters-in-law (internal plural) is the standard and most formal variant;
 sister-in-laws (external plural) is very common in informal speech;
 sisters-in-laws (double plural) is very rare -- only Rand Valentine says
 he uses it (as the most casual variant),
 two others say one hears it occasionally,
 but it could be a performance error.

Double morphology seems to be more systematic in English with agentive nouns
derived from verb+particle, mentioned by Valentine, Davis, and Bauer:

 putter oner
 tracker downer
 blower upper

Koontz cites examples of double inflection from Omaha-Ponca (Siouan),
where the first and second agent is often marked twice, e.g.

 a-t-ta'be dha-sh-ta'be
 I-I-see (it) you-you-see (it)

Koontz notes that "the doubly inflected forms all involve a (more) regular
form applied over an irregular one". This is of course the case in English,
too: sisters-in-law, putter-on (?) are irregular in that the morphology is
"in the wrong place". Other irregularities are present in double plurals
like feets, womens, etc.

But my question is: Why can the regular form be ADDED to the irregular one,
not only replace it? Such double inflection seems to be ruled out by the
Elsewhere Condition as applied to morphology. I don't propose to throw out
this very important notion, but perhaps it is not an absolute constraint,
but rather a "preference principle" that can be overridden by other principles
if it is in conflict with them.

Martin Haspelmath, Free University of Berlin
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Message 2: Irish speakers

Date: Mon, 29 Jun 1992 09:06:00 Irish speakers
From: John Varden <>
Subject: Irish speakers

I'm doing a paper on the structure of noun phrases in Irish, and am
wondering if:

	1) any native speakers are on line with Linguist;
	2) anyone on line has access to a native speaker or two and would
		be interested in colaborating with me on the paper;
	3) anyone could steer me toward a large corpus of transliterated
		Irish text; or
	4) anyone knows the name and number of a native tutor in or around
		Seattle that I could contact.

Any replies should be sent directly to me at, and
all information will certainly be appreciated!
							Kevin Varden
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