Metathesis in Language 2.0

Nyungar (Nyunga)

Language Family


The order of CV in some forms in the Northern dialect is the reverse of that in the Southern dialect.

Type(s) of metathesis

Type Status Optionality Position Location
a. CV Diachronic Obligatory Adjacent Root-final

Case types and qualities


Comparing Northern and Southern dialect, CV metathesis is attested.

Northern Southern  
janka janak 'devil'
nurrku nurruk 'egg'


No conditions could be found


a. Dench (1990): Nyungar words which look like having undergone a metathesis process are the result of two phonological processes, the general loss of final vowels and an epenthetic insertion resyllabifying a non-permissable syllable coda.

b. Hume (1995): In languages displaying CV metathesis, the avoidance of vowels in weak metrical positions, which can be formalized as the constraint *L (avoid a non-branching rhyme in a weak metrical position), is consistently attested. The crucial and different rankings of *L and No Final Coda account for metathesis alternation in the language. That is, in Northern dialect No Coda dominates *L while the reverse is true in Southern dialect.




  • Dench, Alan. 1990. An Autosegmental Account of Nyungar Metathesis. ms. UWA.
  • Hume, Elizabeth. 1995. Beyond linear order: Prosodic constraints and C/V metathesis. Proceedings of FLSM 6. Indiana Linguistics Club.