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Mutation and the syntactic structure of modern colloquial Welsh

Tallerman, Margaret Olwen, 1957


Margaret Olwen, 1957 Tallerman


Nigel Vincent


In this dissertation I discuss the phenomenon of initial consonantal mutation in modern Welsh, and explore the syntactic structure of this language: I will concentrate on the syntax of Colloquial rather than Literary Welsh. It transpires that mutation phenomena can frequently be cited as evidence for or against certain syntactic analyses. In chapter 1 I present a critical survey of previous treatments of mutation, and show that mutation in Welsh conforms to a modified version of the Trigger Constraint proposed by Lieber and by Zwicky. It is argued that adjacency of the mutation trigger is the criterial property in Welsh. Chapter 2 presents a comprehensive description of the productive environments for mutation in modern Welsh. In chapter 3 I give a short account of Government and Binding theory, the framework used for several recent analyses of Celtic languages. I also discuss proposals that have been made concerning the underlying word order of Welsh, a surface VSO language. Although I reject SVO underlying order, I conclude that there is nonetheless a VP constituent in Welsh. Chapters 4 and 5 concern the role of NPs as triggers for Soft Mutation: both overt and empty category NPs are considered. In chapter 5, which centres on wh-traces, it is shown that the variable appears in a wider variety of construction types in Welsh than had previously been suggested. A pre-head relativization site for extractions from VP and NP is posited. Chapter 6 develops the theme of the role of wh-traces in unbounded dependencies, and it is argued that all relative clauses in Welsh are formed by wh-movement. The final chapter, chapter 7, looks at the wider variety of relative clause types found in Colloquial Welsh, and presents an analysis of the patterns of mutation and pronoun retention in the light of the NP Accessibility Hierarchy.


Tallerman, M. O. 1. (1987). Mutation and the syntactic structure of modern colloquial Welsh. (Thesis). University of Hull. Retrieved from

Thesis Type Thesis
Deposit Date Aug 15, 2011
Publicly Available Date Feb 22, 2023
Keywords Literature; Mass media; Performing arts; Welsh language
Public URL
Additional Information Department of Linguistics, The University of Hull
Award Date Jun 1, 1987


Thesis (15.1 Mb)

Copyright Statement
© 1987 Tallerman, Margaret Olwen, 1957-. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the written permission of the copyright holder.

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