Sunday, February 03, 2008
When two sounds exchange their positions (for example, clip > plik) we call it metathesis. In most languages, this doesn't seem particularly common, neither in historical changes nor in the grammar. Kwarandzie has no grammatically caused metathesis, but nonetheless is absolutely full of historically metathesised words, sometimes even coexisting with non-metathesised variants. Thus for palm spines, some speakers say taqaneft and others tanaqeft; "forget" is dnagh for some speakers, dghan for others; "irrigation channel" is variously qentret or qetrent... I've found tens of examples where either synchronic variation or transparent external comparison demonstrates metathesis (usually of non-adjacent consonants, though there are one or two cases with vowels, not counting standard North African schwa alternations), and hear new ones every couple of days. Does this remind anyone of anything they've seen, or is it just odd?