Phonologically conditioned suppletive allomorphy in Haitian as morphological optimization

Benjamin Storme, Jocelyn Otilien


Phonologically conditioned suppletive allomorphy (PCSA) may be phonologically optimizing: allomorph selection complies with the language phonotactics. However this is not always the case. A counterexample often discussed in the literature is Haitian determiner a/la. This paper further investigates Haitian by focusing on a PCSA pattern in Northern Haitian that has not yet been discussed in the theoretical literature: third person singular pronoun i/li. The paper argues that this pattern can be analyzed as morphologically optimizing: allomorph selection in this case can be understood as a way to facilitate morpheme identification in context. The pattern presents a further interesting property: allomorph selection interacts with a phonologically optimizing process (pronoun reduction from i to y [j] and from li to l). This interaction can be straightforwardly modeled in an analysis assuming parallel morphological and phonological optimizations, but not in a serial model where the morphology precedes the phonology and has no access to the output of phonological optimization.


Haitian; Phonologically Conditioned Suppletive Allomorphy; Optimality Theory; Morphological Optimization; Phonological Optimization

Full Text:



Copyright (c) 2022 Benjamin Storme, Jocelyn Otilien

License URL: