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A reaction involving the exchange of elements or groups as in the general equation AX + BY → AY + BX.



one of the types of combinative sound changes, consisting of the transposition of sounds or syllables within a word.

Metathesis is found:

  1. In historical phonetic changes; for example, Russian lo- replaced Common Slavic ol- at the beginning of a word, as in Old Russian lodiia, “boat.”
  2. In the borrowing of words from other languages; for example, Ket garnitsa from Russian granitsa, “border.”
  3. In morphophonological alternations; for example, Georgian Su&qmetl, “fifteen” (not SquSmetl ), from qu&l, “five.”

Metathesis is especially common in substandard (colloquial or dialectal) speech; for example, Russian substandard perelinka for the standard pelerinka, “pelerine,” “cape,” by analogy with the prefix pere-. Metathesis may take place when sounds occur in close proximity (for example, Russian mramor from Latin marmor, “marble”) or when they occur at a distance (for example, Russian futliar from German Futteral, “case”). A special kind of metathesis is quantitative metathesis, whereby the quantitative characteristics (length) of sounds are exchanged, while their qualitative characteristics are retained (as in the Greek transformation of teos to teos).

Metathesis is used in literature for humorous effects (for example, S. Marshak’s poem “How Absentminded He Is”).


References in periodicals archive ?
That part of the grammar provides a description of Late Middle English shifts of quantity, including geminate simplification, metatheses, distant assimilation and dissimilation, various qualitative changes, including modifications of word-final homorganic clusters, loss of consonants with velar articulation ([x, 1, r]), continuations of earlier changes, haplology, transformations in the sequence consonant + [j] leading to the rise of new palatal sounds, loss of plosives in certain consonant sequences, loss of [h], modifications of the initial clusters with [w].
Errors at this stage are misorderings of units: metatheses, deletions, or additions of cells or noncontextual character additions.
Materia will bring to the partnership their proprietary olefin metatheses technology used to cleave and modify unsaturated oils, such as soy and corn oil, to produce mono difunctional olefins and other materials that would serve as platform chemicals for a broad range of chemical and plastic products.