President Trump pronounced the word origins [ˈɔ:rɪʤɪnz] as oringes [ˈɔ:rɪnʤəz] in a meeting with NATO secretary general Stoltenberg at the White House on 3 April 2019.

See this clip on Youtube.


What are the technical term and that term’s definition of the phonological process at play here, and how exactly does that term apply to the change in pronunciation from [ˈɔ:rɪʤɪn] to [ˈɔ:rɪnʤ]?

  • 1
    Possible duplicate of What causes the pronunciation “nucular”? The accepted answer was metathesis. President Trump seems to be aware of his slip because at one point he says the word "origin" a little more carefully and correctly. – Weather Vane Apr 6 at 12:13
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    I listened to the Trump recording a couple of times, and it sounded to me like he was not simply mispronouncing "origin" but was clearly saying "orange". This would lead the casual observer to believe the he does not know what "origin" means in the sense it was being used. (Or perhaps for some reason he got into the practice of using "orange" facetiously and forgot he was speaking for the record.) – Hot Licks Apr 6 at 12:18
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    Three syllables....dementia – Mari-Lou A Apr 6 at 12:36
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    @RichardZ While the frequent phonetic flipflops of Mrs Malaprop can be as easily ascribed to a third-class mind unconsciously covering for a poor education under class-related pretensions as they can to manifestly apparent senescent cognitive deterioration, far be it from ELU to attempt similar analyses on living examples of these traits. – tchrist Apr 6 at 14:57
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    This clearly isn’t metathesis since it’s not two sounds switching positions, but one sound moving further up in a word. I’ve never come across a term for that. English has a sporadic tradition of nasal insertion before a /dʒ/ in the onset of the final syllable in trisyllabic words, especially of French oran—sorry, origins (message ~ messenger, passage ~ passenger). There isn’t usually an n at the end to delete/move, but this still feels like it must be closely related to that process. – Janus Bahs Jacquet Apr 6 at 19:45

protected by tchrist Jun 30 at 22:58

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