Morphological remodelling

Larry Trask larryt at
Fri Mar 23 11:22:27 UTC 2001

--On Tuesday, March 20, 2001 3:13 pm +0000 "M.O.McCullagh"
<mom20 at> wrote:

>  Can anyone on the list think of examples of morphological remodelling
> within a verbal paradigm based on a single ending? The only secure example
> I have been able to come up with is the creation of new middle imperative
> endings in Greek from the basis of the second plural ending -sthe. That
> example seems to me particularly interesting because second plural forms
> are statistically the least frequent of all the personal endings
> (according to Bybee's Morphology). I'd be very interested to hear of
> similar remodellings, inside or outside IE.

See this:

Calvert Watkins. 1962. Indo-European Origins of the Celtic Verb, vol. I:
The Sigmatic Aorist, pp. 93-96, Dublin: Institute for Advanced Studies.

Watkins draws attention to such remodelings in Celtic, Polish and Persian,
at least, all based upon the third-singular forms.  The observation that
such remodelings are typically based upon third-singular forms has been
dubbed 'Watkins's Law'.

Larry Trask
University of Sussex
Brighton BN1 9QH

larryt at

Tel: (01273)-678693 (from UK); +44-1273-678693 (from abroad)
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