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Database

Alsea

(Oregon coast; Penutian?)

Summary:
A sonorant consonant metathesizes with a following vowel under certain morphosemantic conditions to derive a new form of the root.
Examples:
"Light" stem Gloss "Heavy" stem Gloss
tmús-X is closed túms-a door
stlák-sal-tX had been sliding stálk-t slide it!
qLníp-al-X strip him often qLínp-ay (don't) strip him!
Conditions:
a. Affects sonorant consonants only; obstruent stems do not show alternation.

"Light" stem Gloss Expected "heavy" stem Gloss
cxáp'-sal-nX threw it all away cxáp'-ay (*cáxp'-ay) (don’t) throw them away!
pk'ús-X urinates pk'ús-a (*púk's-a) (don't) urinate!


b. Applies within stem only; does not affect consonant at beginning of stem.

"Light" stem Gloss Expected "heavy" stem Gloss
látq-al usually does (what) látq-ay (*áltq-ay) (don't) do anything!
Motivation:
Possibly originated in stems with echo vowels, with eventual deletion of unstressed stem vowel, e.g. *túmus > túms, *tumús > tmús. Location of stress likely due to particular suffixes present in word, leading to correlation of stem type with suffix choice (Buckley 2004).
Related Information:
a. In other contexts, the stem vowel deletes rather than undergoing metathesis, e.g. L-tms-iyu 'closed suddenly'.

b. The stem vowel is copied to certain suffixes, e.g. cpuyt-úy-m '(will) be afloat'. Stem-vowel deletion most often occurs as well, e.g. cpyt-úy 'floated'.

c. Under prefixation, an "extended" stem sometimes participates in the same alternation.
Basic stem Gloss Derived stem with metathesis Gloss
látq- do (what, something) L-áltq-t do it!
Symbols:
c = [ts], voiceless alveolar affricate
X = voiceless uvular fricative
L = voiceless lateral fricative
C' = ejective consonant

Page prepared by Gene Buckley.

Last Updated: 6/20/2007
References:
eliabeth hume's home page | OSU Linguistics home page