The Phonology of Welsh (The Phonology of the World's Languages)

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9780199601233: The Phonology of Welsh (The Phonology of the World's Languages)

This book is an up-to-date, comprehensive, and theoretically coherent account of the phonology of modern Welsh. It begins by describing the history of Welsh, its relation to the other Celtic languages and its phonetic inventory. Six chapters then explore the structures underlying its sound system. The first considers the phonetic background, including segment inventories and the characteristics of the main dialects. The second examines phonological structures including syllables, feet, phonotactics, and stress. The third and fourth analyse phonological alternations in the language, such as vowel mutation and assimilation, and foot-based phenomena such as the behaviour of /h/ and antepenultimate deletion. The fifth examines the phonological representation of initial consonant mutation, one of the best known and least understood characteristics of Celtic phonology in which the initial consonant of a word undergoes a systematic alternation with a consonant that is phonetically different. The concluding chapter summarizes the work's major points and arguments and highlights opportunities for research.

S. J. Hannahs approaches the subject from the perspective of generative phonological theory. He couches specific analyses in the constraint-based framework of optimality theory but presents data in as theory-neutral a way as possible to ensure its accessibility to linguists of all theoretical persuasions.

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About the Author:

S. J. Hannahs, Language and Linguistics, Newcastle University

S. J. Hannahs is senior lecturer in linguistics, Newcastle University, UK. He is the author of Prosodic Structure and French Morphophonology (Niemeyer, 1995), and co-author with Mike Davenport of Introducing Phonetics and Phonology (3rd edn Hodder, 2010). His publications also include papers on Celtic and Romance phonology and morphology in the Journal of Linguistics, Linguistics, and the Journal of Celtic Linguistics.


This book does a superb job at covering the main topics which have been at the forefront of the study of Welsh phonology over the past half-century. Its ample bibliography and descriptive precision make this a suitable starting point for future research. * Jean-FranAois R. Mondon, Linguist List * The phonology of Welsh raises as many analytical questions as it answers. This could be seen as one of the book's strengths, especially since it does such a valuable job of marshalling the available facts in one place. It provides an excellent entry point for phonologists wishing to take these questions further, and will serve as an important reference point for future work on Welsh. * Florian Breit, Journal of Phonology *

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