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Database

Kwara'ae (Fiu)

(Central Malaita Island; Austronesian, Malaita)

Summary:
Sohn (1980): A consonant metathesizes with a following vowel.
Examples:
Sohn (1980)

/daluma/
da.luAm
‘bailer, to bail’
dAul.ma:
‘bail it’ (-a = 3rd pers. obj. suffix)
/abeani/
?@:bE:n
‘to help’
?@:.ba.nia
‘help it’ (-a = 3rd pers. obj. suffix)
/adola/
an.doal
‘public area’
aond.lAum
‘your pbulic area’ (-um = ‘your’)
/sata/
sa:t
‘name’
sa.ta:nd
‘their name’ (-ad = ‘their’)
/babalili/
ba:b.li:l
‘cheek’
ba:b.li.liuk
‘my cheek’ (-uk = ‘my’)

Pawley (1982) a. When the underlying ‘v1cv2’ is aCi, aCu, aCo, uCi or eCo, and C is not a nasal, it is realized as [v1v2 cv^2] or [v1v2c(v2)], where v^ denotes a partially devoiced vowel, and (v) denotes a completely devoiced vowel (that is to say, the lips form or retain the shape of the preceding vowel but no sound can be heard).

/kado/
[kaodo^]
[kaod(o)]
'thin'
/ago/
[aog(o)]
 
'to shelter'
/selo/
[seol(o)]
 
'sail'
/husi/
[huisi^]
[huis(i)]
'cat'

b. When the underlying sequence ‘v1cv1’ contains identical vowels, it is realized as [v1:cv^1] or [v1:c(v 1)]. That is, the second vowel shows up as additional vowel length before C, as well as appearing after C as a devoiced vowel. Before glottal stop, there is no preconsonantal vowel lengthening.

/oso/
[o:so^]
 
'lie, tell untruth'
/sata/
[sa:ta^]
[sa:t(a)]
'lie, tell untruth'
/satada/
[sa:ta:da^]
[sa:ta:d(a)]
'their name'
/ma?a/
[ma?a?]
[ma?(a)]
'father'
Conditions:
A consonant which is not preceded by a vowel is never metathesized with the following vowel (Sohn 1980).

/sa/
[sa]
*[as]
person marker
/sulia/
[sulia]
*[uslia]
'because'
/bolebolea/
[bœ:lbolea]
*[bœ:loblea]
‘crazy’
Motivation:
Economy of speech effort (Sohn 1980): Metathesis occurs in Kwara'ae to minimize the number of syllables by converting open to closed syllables, with a minimum loss of phonological features as well as communication.

Gradual sound change (Pawley 1982): The appearance of metathesis having taken place in Kwara'ae is the cumulative effect of two phonological processes, anticipatory vowel copying and vowel reduction.
Related Information:
a. Vowel fusion
/oe/ -> [œ:], /ae/ -> [@:], /ai/ -> [E:]
This occurs before a consonant. b. /a/ raising
/a/ gets raised to schwa in the environment of /u/ or after /i/ if followed by a consonant. It is raised to [E] before /i/. This does not apply to word-final /a/ or to long /a:/.
c. [w] glide formation
/o/, /u/ are realized as the glide [w] when preceded by a syllable or word boundary, or a velar consonant, provided that they are followed by a vowel other than /o/, /u/.
Symbols:
@ = front low vowel ('ash')
A = central mid vowel ('schwa')
E = front mid vowel
? = glottal stop

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