Phonological Allomorphy


Phonological allomorphy is the process by which an allomorph of a particular morpheme arises due to predictable and regular phonological processes in a language. Phonological allomorphs will often display the same phonological pattern elsewhere in the language. That is, the same “rules” can also be seen as being applied elsewhere in a language’s morphology.


  • Hul’q’umi’num’: Mellesmoen and Urbanczyck (2020) discuss the phonological conditions of allomorphs in the imperfective aspect of Hul’q’umi’num’. It is posited that several phonological factors can influence the imperfective allomorphs (p. 239), including:
    • A stem beginning with consonant clusters
    • A schwa in the stem versus a “full” vowel
    • Glottal places of articulation
    • Presence of obstruent versus sonorant segments

For example, in the case of stems in the shape of CVX with no /ʔ/ or /h/ segments, containing a full vowel, the imperfective allomorph arises by reduplication of the first CV sequence of the stem. This can be seen in the example below:

Mellesmoen and Urbanczyck (2020, p. 240).
  • However, if the first consonant is a /ʔ/ or /h/ segment, the imperfective allomorph is a glottal stop infix (/ʔ/). If the stem does not meet either of these criterion mentioned, there are additional allomorphs that can be found (p. 240).
  • /ʔ-/ and /h-/ initial stems and the imperfective allomorphs are presented below.
Mellesmoen and Urbanczyck (2020, p. 240).