(California; California Penutian, Yokuts)
For more information about metathesis in this language, click on the following links:
a. The intensive possessor suffix has the forms: [-ilin] 
    and [-inl]. 
b. The consequent adjunctive suffix has the forms: 
    [-hal’iy’] and [-hay’l-].
Related processes
(See Comments for key to special characters used.)
a.  Metathesis occurs in the intensive possessor suffix which displays two alternants, [-ilin] and [-inl-]. The VCVC alternant occurs word-finally while the VCC variant is realized before a vowel-initial suffix. 

    Intensive Possessor Suffix
    tihTilin                  'one with many head lice’
    patTilin                 ‘body-louse’
    cawa:?an patTinl-i  ‘[he] shouted at the one with many body-lice’

While the linear ordering of the consonants change by metathesis, the prosodic position of a given consonant is invariant. In both allomorphs, [n] is invariably in postvocalic position, while [l] always occurs in prevocalic position. 

According to Newman (1944), ‘The same process takes place within the unanalyzable noun theme, Gashowu  [Su’lin] and Chawchila [SO’lin] ‘pine bur’ whose oblique stem is [Su’inl-] and  [SO’inl-].' (no examples are given.) 

b.  Metathesis is also observed in the consequent adjunctive suffix which shows the alternants [-hal’iy’] and [-hay’l-]. The former  occurs finally in a phrase, or when preceding a word beginning with a consonant. The latter allomorph occurs when followed by a vowel-initial suffix, with deletion of the interconsonantal vowel of the morpheme. 

    Adjunctive suffix
    xaya:hal’iy’                                                        ‘place, put’
    ?ama? ?am’ak’ yO? ta:winhal’iy’ wo:?uy’ay           ‘and at dawn they fell asleep again’
    xamithay’la maxk’a                                             ‘fetch the scythe’

In each allomorph, the prosodic position of a given consonant is invariant, even though the linear ordering of the consonants change: [y’] is in postvocalic coda position in both alternants, while [l’]  consistently occurs in prevocalic onset position.

No information currently available.
Phonotactic Restrictions (Stonham 1994) 
a. There are no consonant clusters in the language whose first element is /l/ or /l'/ and whose second element is /y/ or /y'/. Metathesis occurs to yield the acceptable string /yl/ or /y'l/ when such impermissible consonant clusters result from morphological concatenation.

b. The sequence /ln/ is extremely rare in Chawchila. Only a single Chawchila form containing the sequence /ln/ was found in the word yuk'ulnut , which has the root yuk'ul and the final suffix -nut. The sequence /nl/, on the other hand, is found frequently. Thus, it can be considered that metathesis involving /l/ and /n/ occurs due to a phonotactic constraint in the language. 

Perceptual Optimization (Hume 1997, 1998)
a. The presence of stress may provide insight into the occurrence of the nasal in postvocalic position. Newman states that stress is clearly marked in the language, falling on the penultimate syllable. Thus, in the sequence [VnlV], [n], which has less robust internal cues than the liquid, occurs as coda of the penultimate and, therefore, the most prominent syllable of the word. Given that the relevant parameter distinguishing /n/ and /l/ is one of manner of articulation, an additional factor favors the occurrence of the nasal in postvocalic position: anticipatory coarticulation in the form of vowel nasalization on a preceding vowel provides strong cues to the nasal manner. 

b. The consonant [y’] is reported by Newman to be somewhat whispered in word-final position and preceding a consonant, while no breathiness is perceived in prevocalic position (Newman 1944). Thus, in the alternant [-hay’l-], positioning [y’] before a consonant [l] by metathesis may serve to enhance the perceptibility of the consonant [y’].

Related processes:
No information currently available.
Special Symbols:
O = mid back rounded vowel ('open o')
T = aspirated alveolar stop
? = glottal stop
C' = glottalized consonant
S = voiceless alveo-palatal fricative

Last updated: 9/26/2000

  • Hume, Elizabeth. 1997. Towards an Explanation of Consonant/Consonant Metathesis. ms. OSU. Draft, v. 1.
  • Hume, Elizabeth. 1998. The Role of Perceptibility in Consonant/Consonant Metathesis. In Blake, Susan, Eun-Sook Kim, and Kimary Shahin (eds.), WCCFL XVII Proceedings. Stanford: CSLI. 293-307.
  • Newman, Stanley. 1944. Yokuts Language of California. New York: Viking Fund Publication in Anthropology, no.2.
  • Stonham, John. 1990. Current Issues in Morphological Theory. PhD dissertation. Stanford University.
  • Stonham, John. 1994. Combinatorial Morphology. Amsterdam Studies in the Theory and History of Linguistic Science. Series IV, Current Issues in Linguistic Theory; v. 120. John Benjamins Publishing Company: Amsterdam/Philadelphia.