Here is a phonological rule:

-ViC(-) > -VCʲ(-),
where i both /i/ or /j/;

and its vice versa:

-VCʲ(-) > -ViC(-).

(I think that -VeC(-) is possible too).

But I don't know what is the name of such rule, maybe it is particular case of the metathesis or the transphonologization.

And I don't remember where I found it. Maybe it was the description of Romanian language, or Hungarian, or whatever else.

So my question is about the term of such process and in which languages it can be observed historically or in loanwords.

UPD There was two responses for clarifying but I don't know how so I can give only examples. For the phonological rule they are (as pseudowords):

the historical stage in some language:
bein > beny /bɛin > bɛnʲ/;


the adaptation of loanword in some another language:
rarrohaatat' > rerugatajt /rarːoɦaːtatʲ > ɾəɾʊɣatai̯t/.

UPD2 It seem to be kind of dissimilation in second case:

the // dissimilate into the /i̯t/ sequence;

but I don't understand its regressive character, i.e. why not to the /ti/ (maybe it is the forbidden coda).

Also there are more examples for metathesis:

Eng. foliage > foilage.

  • Most sound changes don't have pithy names.
    – Cairnarvon
    Commented Feb 15, 2022 at 21:48
  • Second part of my query is more interesting for me: in which languages is observed this rule. I did the note when I found such language but it lost.
    – T1nts
    Commented Feb 15, 2022 at 21:54
  • Rhetorically: There are 3 responses for closing my question but no explanation what is problem with it..
    – T1nts
    Commented Feb 15, 2022 at 22:33
  • Neither of those two rules is particularly uncommon, so you could have seen them in lots of places. Your question seems to imply that they exist alongside each other in the same language, though, which isn’t possible – you’d end up with an infinite loop, going back and forth between the two forms. As for names, you could argue that they’re both forms of metathesis. Commented Feb 15, 2022 at 22:38
  • 1
    This is glide metathesis. Many lexemes in Spanish, Portuguese and other Ibero-Romance have undergone this diachronic change from Latin.
    – Michaelyus
    Commented Feb 16, 2022 at 11:00

1 Answer 1


There isn't a name, but there is a phonetic explanation. The difference between a syllable [ViC] and [VCʲ] is somewhat subtle, having to do with how you detect palatal formants at the end of a syllable, and localize them on a vowel or a consonant. If you don't have a fairly robust consonant release burst, it's hard to identify Cʲ in the coda, so you have to listen for i-like transitions at the end of the preconsonantal vowel. Of course, that is what you also have to listen for in identifying [ViC], the difference being mostly one of time (i.e. over how long a span do you have palatal formants). This makes it difficult (not impossible) to maintain a contrast between [ViC] and [Vcʲ]. When there is no actual phonemic contrast, there is the potential for phonemic reanalysis. This, then, may explain a Greek sound change orjV > oirV (and an analogous example in a number of Bantu languages, known as "imbrication"), if the steps were orjV > or:ʲV > oʲr:ʲV > oir(:)V, that is, the palatal constriction tended to occur progressively earlier across generations. The contrary tendency ViC > VCʲ is less likely and fairly uncommon, because it involves moving the palatal formants from a fairly audible position to a position where they are much harder to identify. One should look into the details of the bein > bɛnʲ progression, which, I expect, is related to an avoidance of diphthongs.

  • Thanks for explanation! Especially for the term 'imbrication'. It will be a start point.
    – T1nts
    Commented Feb 16, 2022 at 0:05

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