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Friday, October 11 • 3:40pm - 5:30pm
(F3) White & Roberts: Variability in the Welsh initial consonant mutation system

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Variability in the Welsh initial consonant mutation system

This study focuses on the current status of Welsh soft mutation. Using an online survey we asked Welsh speakers to listen to sentences with standard or nonstandard mutation patterns and judge in each case (a) whether they would be surprised to hear that pattern, and (b) whether they would personally use it. Most participants clustered either into a group of conservative mutaters (who prefer standard mutation) or a group of variable mutaters (who accept standard mutation and non-mutation). The amount of acceptable variability depended on the specific mutation trigger, with more conservative responses for more common triggers. Surprisingly, we did not find evidence for conditioning by obvious sociodemographic factors such as age, gender, or region. Overall, our results show evidence of widespread variability in the Welsh soft mutation system and contribute to research on variation in threatened languages, highlighting a need for further research on the factors that condition it.


Yosiane White

University of Pennsylvania

Gareth Roberts

University of Pennsylvania

Friday October 11, 2019 3:40pm - 5:30pm PDT
EMU Ballroom