I saw the displacement letters of the words in the transition between languages and dialects.
For example in my language (Persian) dialects: Lajegir converted to Lagejir.
I don't remember any example for transition between languages but i saw.
What is the reasons of this displacements?

1 Answer 1


Such transpositions (metathesis) might be completely unsystematic. I don't know the specific example you cite, but I suspect that it is just a random example (being CVC metathesis). Other kinds of metathesis are more systematic, and you find it in Hebrew in the 5th binyan when the stem begins with a sibilant -- hitzaken → hizdaken. Some dialects of Arabic have metathesis in order to get guttural consonants out of the syllable coda The reason in that case is that metathesis results in a sonority-based improvement in syllable contact. This paper (the first in the file) covers some of the reasons, and applies to Persian.

Most examples of metathesis are grammatically unsystematic, such as the common example of "ask" being pronounced "ax" in some dialects -- that only happens in the one word and assumes without reason that the underlying form is /æsk/ because that's the Standard English form. Sometimes, infixing is incorrectly labeled as metathesis. But there are some robust examples like Leti, so that one can't deny that the phenomenon exists -- the theoretical mechanism for accounting for such alternations is another matter.

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