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Title:On the formal description of metathesis: A case study of v-metathesis in Modern Georgian
Authors:Marika Butskhrikidze, Jeroen van de Weijer
Abstract:Metathesis, or the transposition of whole segments either synchronically or from one historical language stage to another, has usually been regarded as one of the less common phonological processes, even to such an extent that researchers have asked the question whether it exists at all as a synchronic (morpho)phonological process (Hock 1991). Where it is discussed, the question is debated whether the process is driven by phonotactics, or whether phonetic, perception-driven forces also play a role (see e.g. Blevins & Garrett 1998). At any rate, the formalization of metathesis has long been a problem for phonological theories: specific analyses have typically been subject to the criticism that while being descriptively adequate, they could not explain the process, let alone address the question of what types of metathesis are possible, and what types are not. In this paper we explore previous approaches to metathesis, as in SPE and autosegmental phonology, and argue that Optimality Theory is a better candidate to account for processes of this type, on the basis of a fully productive metathesis process found in Modern Georgian.
Type:Paper/tech report
Article:Version 1