Base-dependence in reduplication

Jason D. Haugen, Cathy Hicks Kennard

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Inkelas and Zoll (Reduplication: Doubling in morphology, 2005) designed Morphological Doubling Theory (MDT) to offer an alternative theory of reduplication that does not involve phonological copying. Contra theories of reduplication which assume that the morphophonological form of a reduplicative morpheme (a "reduplicant") relies on the morphophonological form of some stem (its "base"), MDT disallows such "base-dependence". Inkelas and Zoll account for many reduplication patterns without base-dependence by positing that reduplication constructions involve semantic identity, rather than phonological identity, between two stems in a compounding construction. However, we argue that certain patterns of reduplication require base-dependence. These include cases where reduplication targets the output prosodic structure of the stem, as in the "foot copy" reduplicants of Yidiny and "syllable copy" reduplicants of Hiaki (Yaqui). To account for these cases MDT must posit syllabic structure in the input, contra the Richness of the Base. Further, MDT cannot account for emergence of the unmarked (TETU) effects in reduplication. In Tawala, vowel-lengthening occurs in lieu of reduplication only in a predictable phonological environment: when a verb stem already contains two identical adjacent syllables at the left edge of the word. We argue that while such a pattern is a problem for MDT's proscription against base-dependence, it can be accounted for as a simple case of TETU within Correspondence Theory, given a ranking of Faith-IO ≫Repeatσ ≫ Faith-BR. Thus, some of the major premises of MDT, which does not privilege a distinction between "reduplicant" and "base", are challenged by such data.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-29
Number of pages29
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2011


  • Base-dependence
  • Correspondence Theory
  • Hiaki (Yaqui)
  • Morphological Doubling Theory
  • Reduplication
  • Tawala
  • The Richness of the Base
  • The emergence of the unmarked (TETU)


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