Metathesis in Language 2.0


Language Family
Yok-Utian, Yokutsan


Different morphological conditions in Yawelmani may trigger CC metathesis between the root and the following suffix.

Suffixes in Yawelmani are also able to cause CV metathesis within the root.

Type(s) of metathesis

Type Status Optionality Position Location
a. CC Synchronic Obligatory Adjacent Root-internal, between root and suffix
b. CV Synchronic Obligatory Adjacent Root-internal

Case types and qualities


/moyn/ + CVCVVC + /-ʔii/ + /nt/ → moyoʔneenit  'will be made tired'
/hubʂ/ + CVCVVC + /-ʔii/ + /mi/ → hubuʔʂom  'haveing made X choose'

diyl ~ dyiil  'guard'
bniit ~ bint  'ask'
ʔamc' ~ ʔmaac'  'be near'


The causative suffix /-ʔii/ provides a CVCVVC template for the root. When there is only one root vowel, the glottal stop of the suffix will undergo metathesis and intervene within the root.

McCarthy (1989), citing Archangeli (1983; 1984), provides the examples above. The exact morphological condition is unknown.


Archangeli (1984) proposes a biplanar representation account where the autosegmental associations of consonants and vowels are separate. In addition, she argues that certain syllable templates are provided by morphological affixes. A fixed syllable template and a segregation between consonant/vowel association contribute to the apparent metathesis on the surface.

Note that the examples demonstrate a systematic alternation between CVCC ~ CCVVC syllable templates.




  • Archangeli, Diana. 1984. Underspecification in Yawelmani phonology and morphology. Ph.D. dissertation. Massachussetts Institute of Technology.
  • Archangeli, Diana. 1990. Prosodic templates in Yawelmani. University of Arizona, ms.
  • McCarthy, John J. 1989. Linear Order in Phonology Representation. Linguistic Inquiry 20: 71-99.