Distributive Reduplication

Distributive is correlated with a range of interpretations, including distributed plural, distributed action, and intensified experience or activity. (Black, 1996:63)

Plural constructions denote more than one object in stative roots and more than one actor of eventive roots. The plural is derived from a reduplication of the root word’s two consonants. These two consonants are prefixed to the root. There is no distinction between strong-roots and weak-roots.

Salish words are derived from a root word with affixes. Reduplication is a process that involves repeating the letters/sounds of the root word. Distributive reduplication repeats the two consonants of the root and adds them as a prefix to it.

Root affixation.
Prefixed reduplicated consonants of the root word; distributive reduplication
  • t̕iš, sweet, stative, indicating sweet taste.
    • i t̕št̕iš, they are sweet.
    • i ɬt̕št̕iš, they are a little sweet.
  • sul, cold, stative, indicating a cold state.
    • i slsul, they are cold.
  • c̓an, tight, secure, stative, indicating a literal tautness and figuratively, a secured object.
    • nc̓nc̓nmos, hold face tightly.
    • Reduplication indicates plurality of usage (hands) and/or a distributive act extending over a period of time.
  • šl, chop, eventive, activity, indicating a chop action with a blade-like object.
    • es šlšlepi, s/he is chopping at the base. (chopping down a tree)
  • men, contra, eventive, activity, indicating contrariety, an incongruence, or contra position/activity.
    • mnmntwilš, s/he really ran.
    • Plural reduplication shows /mn/ as the root.


  • Black, Deirdra. 1996. The Morphological and Phonological Structures of Spokane Lexemes. Dissertation, University of Victoria, BC.
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