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Welsh vowel mutation : an optimality analysis

Lookup NU author(s): Dr SJ Hannahs



Welsh vowel mutation is a purely positional vowel alternation, the effects of which serve to obscure phonemic contrasts between three vowels in the system, namely barred-i, schwa and [u]. In this paper I propose an optimality theoretic account of vowel mutation differing from previous derivational analyses (e.g. Thomas 1979, 1984, Williams 1983) in various ways, including in the underlying values of some of the vowels involved. The correct results emerge primarily through the interaction of a high-ranking structural constraint prohibiting schwa in a final syllable, an input-output faithfulness constraint on vowel features, and a constraint prohibiting a high central rounded vowel.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Hannahs SJ

Series Editor(s): Hussein M; Kolokonte M; Wright C

Publication type: Report

Publication status: Published

Series Title: Newcastle Working Papers in Linguistics

Year: 2007

Pages: 27-40

Report Number: 12 & 13

Institution: School of English Literature, Language and Linguistics, Newcastle University

Place Published: Newcastle upon Tyne


Notes: ISSN 1472-4855