Metathesis in Language 2.0


Language Family


A /ca-/ pronominal prefix becomes /ac-/ when affixed to a word beginning with /a/ or /o/.

Type(s) of metathesis

Type Status Optionality Position Location
a. CV Synchronic Obligatory Adjacent Prefix

Case types and qualities


Kimball states that the /ca-/ prenominal prefix becomes /ac-/ when it is affixed to a word beginning with /a/ or /o/.

ca + a:pihci 'my + body' aca:pihci

See comments for an alternative analysis.


Morpheme concatenation


Phonotactics: Avoidance of ill-formed vowel clusters (?)



This alternation could be analyzed as the result of epenthesis and deletion. The prefixes /ca-/, /cu-/, /ko-/ and /haci-/ all show an initial /a/ in when affixed onto words beginning with /a/ and /o/, surfacing as /ac-/, /aci-/, /ako-/, and /ahaci-/, respectively.

When any of these prefixes combine with a vowel-initial word, the word-initial vowel is deleted; the only exception is /ca-/ + /a/ or /o/, in which the vowel of the prefix is deleted (assuming that the word-initial /a/ is epenthetic).

Root vowel deletes:
/ko-/ + /ilho:sin/ --> ko-lho:sit 'we + to forget (We forgot it.)'
/ko-/ + /a:pihci/ --> ako-pihci 'we + bodies (our bodies)'
/ca-/ + /iyyi/ --> ca-yyi 'I + foot (my foot)'

Prefixed vowel deletes:
/ca-/ + /ofahyan/ --> ac-ofahy 'I + to be ashamed (I am ashamed.)'

In either analysis, /ca-/ will be exceptional, but independent processes of epenthesis and deletion are motivated by the data. (Mike Armstrong)


  • Booker, K.M. 1994. Muskogean languages. In R.E. Asher (ed.), The Encyclopedia of Language and Linguistics, vol. 3. Oxford: Pergamon Press. pp. 2654-2655
  • Kimball, G.D. 1991. Koasati Grammar. Lincoln, Nebraska: University of Nebraska Press.
  • Kimball, G.D. 1994. Koasati Dictionary. Lincoln, Nebraska: University of Nebraska Press.