Linguistic Terms

Metathesis and it characteristics


The metathesis is a figure of speech , but it is also a feature of the use of language that is to reverse the order of a letter or syllable within a word. For example, metathesis is observed when we say estógamo , instead of saying stomach . However, this rhetorical figure also consists in modifying the order of words in a sentence or in a sentence.

If the metathesis is carried out with intention, then it is possible to speak of a rhetorical figure . On the contrary, if it is an error or accident that the editor or speaker makes, it is correct to say that metathesis is a vice or use of language .

Metathesis should not be abused as a rhetorical figure since it is not possible that the reader does not understand the message that was intended to be given. Finally, the origin of this word derives from the Greek ” metathesis ” and means ” change ” or ” transposition “.

Examples of Metathesis:

Yesterday my stomach hurt a lot → the right thing would be to say “stomach”
Rosa cooks very rich cocretas → croquettes
He made a buscro movement to avoid crashing → abruptly
Perigo situation → danger
We have to sarvalize our partner → save
Eating vegetables is very healthy → vegetables
I was stupefied to hear the news → stupefied
Whenever you cook a smoke box is created throughout the house → smokehouse
The weather forecast → meteorological
A rose polvadera → polvareda
It has a lot of damage against women → prejudices
Naide doesn’t know more than you and me → nobody


Uses of the Metathesis

Metathesis in jargon or lunfardo is widely used . In this way, it is present as a stylistic resource in the composition of many songs, especially in the tango lyrics. It is also often used in humor or to simulate a lapse.

It is a resource used in children’s songs to interact with children asking for collaboration to correct the alleged error.

On the other hand, metathesis can be used to avoid censorship of certain forbidden words or to express ideas in relation to politics or sex.

In addition, this figure is used as a resource to cause confusion and, in certain cases, to make the receiver complicit in what is being transmitted. For example, saying ” everything can start to hurt salt ” instead of ” everything can start to go wrong ” is a way to include the recipient with the word and make it part of an intention.

Types of Metathesis

  • Reciprocal metathesis: this type of linguistic phenomenon involves two phonemes that exchange their position, then creating a different linguistic form than the initial one. This phonetic change can occur both in contiguous sounds, and among those located in different parts of the word.
  • Simple metathesis: on the contrary, simple metathesis will take place when a single sound of a linguistic form varies position, then being located in a different place within the word to which it belongs.
  • Contact metathesis: also, when two phonemes decide to change position, there is a distance between them, an element that will also determine other types of metathesis. In this order of ideas, if the phonemes that exchange their place are next to each other, then there is talk of a contact metathesis.
  • Remote metathesis: on the contrary, if phonemes that change positions with other sounds cannot be considered contiguous, because they belong to different areas of the word, then Linguistics prefers to talk about remote metathesis.

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