Where r you going? A typology of long-distance metathesis of liquids


  • Eirini Apostolopoulou University of Verona / UiT - The Arctic University of Norway


This paper offers a typological analysis of the diachronic phenomena of long-distance metathesis of liquids that thrive in the history of several Romance languages. In particular, it explores metathesis of liquids from a non-initial consonant-liquid configuration towards the left periphery of the word, which may be accompanied by metathesis of post-vocalic liquids and be subject to locality restrictions, i.e. limitations with respect to the distance the migrating liquid may travel. Different combinations of the above possibilities yield four different typological categories, three of which are attested. Crucially, although existing models have offered insightful accounts of the phenomena at hand from a language-specific angle, there lacks a comprehensive understanding of the factors that determine the bigger typological picture. The present proposal, couched within Property Theory (Alber & Prince 2015, in prep.), aims at successfully generating all attested patterns by extracting the crucial ranking conditions that define the typology of long-distance metathesis. The cornerstones of the analysis are two constraint rankings that trigger/block metathesis from a post-consonantal and a post-vocalic environment, respectively, a ranking imposing/lifting locality restrictions, and a ranking determining the least tolerated marked structure in a given language, choosing between a non-initial post-consonantal liquid and a post-vocalic one.


Long-distance metathesis, liquids, Romance, typology, Property Theory


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