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Database

French (Cajun)

(Southern Louisiana; Romance, Gallo-Rhaetian)

Summary:
Non-obligatory CV metathesis occurs between a retroflex consonant [r] and a mid central lax vowel ('schwa').
Examples:
a. Type 1 metathesis: A consonant /r/ in a obstruent + /r/ context metathesizes with a schwa.

grenier > [gr@nje] > [g@rnje] > ‘attic’
prenait > [pr@nE] > [p@rnE] > ‘took’
vendredi > [va~dr@di] > [va~d@rdi] > ‘Friday’

b. Type 2 metathesis: A word-initial single consonant /r/ metathesizes with a following schwa when the preceding word ends in a consonant.

pour retourner > [purr@turne] > [pur@rturne]
‘to go back’

d’êt’ revenue > [dEtr@v@ny] > [dEt@rv@ny]
‘to be back’

Sosthèn’ regrettait > [sOstEnr@gretE] > [sOstEn@rgretE]
'Sosthèn regretted'

* When a preceding word ends with a vowel, there is no metathesis.

a's'a retournée > [asar@turne] > [asarturne] > *[asa@r@turne]
'she went back'

s'en a r'venue > [sAarv@ny] > [sAar@v@ny] > *[sAa@rv@ny]
'she came back'

* When the onset consonant is not /r/, no metathesis occurs.

encor'm'nacé > [AkOrmnase] > *[AkOr@mnase]
'threatened again'

pour v'nir > [purvnir] > *[pur@vnir]
'to come'
Conditions:
No information currently available.
Motivation:
From Lyche (1995):

Assuming a prosodic analysis where the initial syllable is degenerate in that it lacks a vocalic nucleus, schwa metathesis in Cajun French can be viewed as the result of a epenthesis process which will save the deficient syllable.
Related Information:
No information currently available.
Symbols:
@ = mid central lax vowel ('schwa')
E = mid-low front vowel
A = nasalized low back vowel
O = mid-low back vowel

Last Updated: 6/13/2007
References:
Lyche, Chantal. 1995. Schwa Metathesis in Cajun French. Folia Linguistica XXIX/3-4. 369- 393.
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