Sananmuunnos

Sananmuunnos

Sananmuunnos ("Word transformation") is a sort of verbal play in the Finnish language, similar to spoonerisms in English.

Special to Finnish is a narrow phoneme inventory and vowel harmony. As Finnish is a mora-divided language, it is morae that are exchanged, not syllables. Also, Finnish inflectional and derivational morphology is extensive, thus applying a suffix from another word often produces a valid word. This leads to large number of possible spoonerisms.

Initial morae of two adjacent words are exchanged.:Johannes Virolainen (name of a former leading politician) → Vihannes Jorolainen (vihannes 'vegetable', Jorolainen = another Finnish surname)

The "extra length" of a long vowel is a full mora, and thus stays in its original position, making the new vowel long.:sanan muunnos [sa-nan mu-nnos] → [mu-nan sa-nnos] → munan saannos

If necessary, stilted diphthongs are converted to into allowed diphthongs as per phonotactics. The first vowel is the determinant for choosing the diphthong. The process preserves opening and closing diphthongs, e.g. the opening 'ie' is reflected as an opening 'uo'. :vieno huntti [vi-eno hu-ntti] → [hu-eno vi-ntti] → huono vintti

If necessary, vowel harmony is applied. As per vowel harmony, the initial syllable controls the kind of vowel selected.:häipyvät tavut [hä-ipyvät ta-vut] → [ta-ipyvät hä-vut] → taipuvat hävytThat is, transformation is A, U, O into Ä, Y, Ö, if the former do not begin the word. Notice that information may be lost in this step, making it irreversible.

Exceptions are found, when the transformation would be irreversible.:huono koira → kuono hoira (not *koono huira ← huuno koira)

It is possible (although not accepted by some "orthodox") to exchange only the initial consonants, if that is the only way to get a sensible result. Eg. palasokeri [p-ala/s-okeri] 'sugar lump' → salapokeri [s-ala/p-okeri] 'playing poker in secret' (*solapakeri would not mean anything).

Typically presented, spoonerisms are a kind of double entendre. Quite ironically, the very term "sananmuunnos" is one; it becomes "munansaannos", which can be understood as "small yield of penis".

External links

* [http://www.sci.fi/~alphabet/sanamuu.html List of Finnish spoonerisms]

References

*Heli Harrikari. "A Constraint-based Approach to Finnish CV Spoonerisms." [http://www.ai.mit.edu/projects/dm/featgeom/harrikari99-finnish-spoonerisms.pdf]


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