Could you provide me with the general rule of both metathesis and epenthesis? I can write the rules regarding specific case in metathesis and epenthesis but I couldn't find out the general rule.

  • 1
    There are only specific rules. What do you even mean by "the general rule"?
    – user6726
    Dec 21, 2015 at 17:01
  • 2
    IIRC, SPE gives a formulation for metathesis, in just a brief note saying that transformational notation is required for this. (It's not very interesting.)
    – Greg Lee
    Dec 21, 2015 at 19:47
  • Would you say you can formulate a rule for the fact that there is Greek morf-e and Latin form-a?
    – rogermue
    Dec 27, 2015 at 13:57
  • Are you asking about English? Or are you looking for some "universal" rules?
    – fdb
    Apr 20, 2016 at 0:42

1 Answer 1


The 'general rule' might be that certain phonemes are difficult to say in sequence, so one either swaps them (metathesis) or inserts another (typically a vowel, epenthesis).

  • 1
    Or you could change one of the phonemes to a different phoneme; or you could delete one of the phonemes. There is a difference between a rule that performs a specific action, and the reason for there being such a rule.
    – user6726
    Jan 20, 2016 at 21:19

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