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Many poetic metaplasms are useful for describing processes in the natural development of languages:
- Epenthesis, addition of a sound to a word:
- Synalepha, two syllables becoming one, occurs by elision, crasis, synaeresis, or synizesis.
- Elision ("contraction" in English grammar), removal of a sound:
- Crasis (Ancient Greek contraction), coalescence of two vowels into a new long vowel.
- Synaeresis, pronunciation of two vowels as a diphthong. Opposite: diaeresis, pronunciation of a diphthong as two syllabic vowels.
- Synizesis, pronunciation of two vowels that do not form a normal diphthong as one syllable, without change in writing. Opposite: hiatus, distinct pronunciation of two adjacent vowels.
- Metathesis, rearranging of sounds or features of sounds, may affect vowel lengths (quantitative metathesis).
- Greek μεταπλασμός, from μετα-πλάσσειν "mold into a different shape"