Regular metathesis

Hans Henrich Hock

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Although metathesis is usually a sporadic process, it may on occasion be regular. This paper advances the hypothesis that in order to be able to apply regularly, metathesis must serve a specific structural purpose. This purpose may involve a general constraint on phonological structure, the elimination of a cross-linguistically disfavored sequence, or the establishment of a preferred syllable structure. Some apparent exceptions are more properly to be considered instances of ‘glide epenthesis’, the segmentalization of the normally nonsegmental on- or off-glide of palatal, labiovelar, and similar segments. A similar interpretation may hold true for developments involving glottals. (These are treated in section 9.) The residue of apparent exceptions can be accounted for as resulting from the generalization of regular metatheses from environments in which they are structurally ‘motivated’ to environments in which they are not.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)529-546
Number of pages18
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1985

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language


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