Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Aks your relator if the house is perty

Metathetically speaking.
When you speak that way you are engaging in metathesis (mê--thê-sis), the switching of one sound or letter in a word with another.

Linguistic metathesis most often involves R and L, the "liquid" consonants: flimsy was created from filmsy by metathesis, linguist Robert Beard writes.
When we say perogative forprerogative or perscription for prescription, we commit metathesis, switching the positions of the R and E. In some dialects of English ask is metathesized to aks and another common speech error is the pronunciation of foliage as foilage, switching the L and the I. Southerners love metathesis: their pronunciations of pretty as perty, and difference [di-frêns] as differnce all reflect this proclivity.
In use: We have our choice of metathetic or metathetical for the adjective, and -ly may be added to the latter for the adverb:metathetically. The verb is a predictable metathesize, as two sounds might metathesize in a word.
History: Metathesis is a Late Latin noun based on the Greek verb metatithenai "to transpose". This verb consists of meta "beyond, over" + tithenai "to place". Meta comes from the same source as English mid and middle. Apparently, it originally meant "between", for that is the meaning of Russian mezhdu, which comes from the same word. Tithenai comes from an earlier form dhe-ti-, the source of English deed and do.

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