The Morphology of North Sámi Adjectives

North Sámi adjectives show a particularly complex morphological pattern. In certain contexts, they show case and number suffixes (1-2). In others, they don’t, but even here they’re not bare: they surface in a special “attributive” form (3).

(1) a. biila lea ruoksat is
"The car is red"
b. biilla-t leat ruoksad-at are
"The cars are red"
(2) sii orro-t ruoksad-is
they live-3pl
"They live in the red one" (e.g. house)
(3) rukses {biila / biilla-t / biilla-in / ...}
"A/the car; (the) red cars; in (the) red cars; ..."

This alternation barely scratches the surface: the empirical data is quite complex. I’m trying to develop a full account of the North Sámi system within current generative theories of morphology. This will then show us constraints on what an adequate morphological theory will have to look like.