My name is Kelsey Renoll and I’m a sophomore at the College. I’m a linguistics and psychology double major and my work this summer will be, as the title of this posts suggest, an investigation of factors influencing metathesis.
Metathesis is a linguistic phenomenon by which two sounds in a word switch places. It’s a rare phenomenon, so little is known about it but instances of it taking place can be seen historically, in daily speech, and as a phonological process. A famous historical example is the metathesis of s and k in the English word ask, which used to be said aks or h and r in the English word horse, which used to be hrose. Metathesis is also found in a number of the world’s languages as a phonological process and even happens in daily speech (e.g. saying nuculer instead of nuclear).
As little is known about the subject, my aim this summer is to investigate metathesis in a more experimental setting in order to discover any factors that might contribute to its occurrence. My work will be based in uncovering what is currently known about metathesis and why it happens and comparing that to any findings from my experimentation. Without giving too much away about my methodology, my work will essentially consist of identifying what settings make metathesis more or less likely based on data collected from speech production experiments.Ideally, my experimentation will yield results in line with the current understanding of metathesis, but I have yet to find another experimental investigation of metathesis so I’m not entirely sure what to expect!
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