This chapter characterises the empirical and theoretical bounds of the concept of allomorphy. We demonstrate how allomorphy may be distinguished from phonological, morphological and syntactic sources of variation, and we attempt to highlight the core concerns that a full theory of allomorphy should address. These include the types of elements (for instance, roots versus affixes) that may enter into allomorphic relationships, how far conditioners of allomorphy may be from loci of allomorphy, when and how competition between allomorphs is resolved, and whether grammars impose upper bounds on numbers of allomorphs.
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