Quantitative metathesis

Quantitative metathesis (or transfer of quantity)[1] is a specific form of metathesis or transposition (a sound change) involving quantity or vowel length. By this process, two vowels near each other – one long, one short – switch their lengths, so that the long one becomes short, and the short one becomes long.

In theory, the definition includes both

long-short → short-long


short-long → long-short,

but Ancient Greek, which the term was originally created to describe, displays only the former, since the process is part of long-vowel shortening.

  1. ^ Smyth, Greek Grammar, paragraph 34 on CCEL: transfer of quantity

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