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Re: Celtic Consonant Mutation

From:Raymond Brown <ray.brown@...>
Date:Monday, May 6, 2002, 14:46
At 2:08 pm -0700 3/5/02, Joe wrote:
>Can you guys help me? I'm wondering how Celtic Initial mutation happens, as >in Cornish: > >mam >mother > >an vam >the mother > >I'm just curious as to how the mechanism works, and under what >conditions...maybe the Bretons on this list can help :-)
OK - tho not a Breton, I'll try. As Michael Poxon explained, the 'mutations' were once phonetically conditioned. But that has longed past. They are now fixed grammatically. WELSH In Welsh there are three mutations besides the base form: soft, nasal & spirant mutations. The Welsh mutations are: Intial consonant Soft Nasal Spirant P B MH /mh/ PH /f/ pensil ei bensil e fy mhesil i ei phensil hi (pencil) (his pensil) (my pensil) (her pensil) T D NH /nh/ TH /T/ tad ei dad e fy nhad i ei thad hi (father) (his father) (my father) (her father) C /k/ G NGH /Hh/ CH /X/ [sic] ci ei gi e fy nghi i ei chi hi (dog) (his dog) (my dog) (her dog) B F /v/ M NO CHANGE brawd ei brawd e fy mrawd i ei brawd hi (brother) (his brother) (my brother) (her brother) D DD /D/ N NO CHANGE dant ei ddant e fy nant i ei dant hi (tooth) (his tooth) (my tooth) (her tooth) G [zero] NG /N/ NO CHANGE gardd ei ardd e fy ngardd i ei gardd hi (garden) (his garden) (my garden) (her garden) LL /K/ L NO CHANGE NO CHANGE llyfr ei lyfr e fy llyfr i ei llyfr hi (book) (his book) (my book) (her book) M F NO CHANGE NO CHANGE mam ei fam e fy mam i ei mam hi (mother) (his mother) (my mother) (her mother) RH /r_h/ R [trilled] NO CHANGE NO CHANGE rhaff ei raff e fy rhaff i ei rhaff hi (rope) (his rope) (my rope) (her rope) The soft mutation occurs: (a) feminine singular nouns after the definite article, and adjectives after femine singular nouns - except that {ll} & {rh} do not mutate in these circumstances. (b) If an adjective preceeds a noun, the noun is muated whatever its gender or number (no exceptions) (c) after _dy_ "thy, your [familiar]", and _ei_ (_'i_ if preceeded by a vowel, except -i, when _'w_ is used) "his" (d) after certain prepositions. (e) after the words _dau_ (masc.) or _dwy_ (fem.) = "two". (f) after the predicative _yn_ (not the preposition), e.e. mae e'n ddyn tal is he YN man tall = he is a tall man (g) the directed of of an _inflected_ part of the verb (Welsh, like all the modern Celtic langs makes great use of auxiliary verbs + the uninflected 'verbnoun' [roughly: infinitive]). (h) after the conjunction _neu_ "or" and the words _dyma_ "here is", _dyna_ "there is" and _dacw_ "there is [over yonder]". (i) Nouns in the vocative form, e.g. Bore da, blant! "Good morning, children. (Plant = children) [Not an 100% exhaustive list :) ] The nasal mutation (a) after _fy_ "my" (b) after the preposition _yn_ "in" (c) also the word _blynedd_ "years" and _blwydd_ /blujD/ "years" [when giving one's age] have nasal mutation after: pum (five), saith (seven), wyth /ujT/ (eight), naw (nine), deg /de:g/ (ten) which then itself becomes _deng_ /de:N/. Rule (c) also applied at one time to _diwrnod_ ("day", in the sense of French "journée", not "jour" which is _dydd_ in Welsh); but this now rather archaic. The spirant mutation (a) after _ei_ [_'i_, _'w_] "her" (b) after the prepositions _â_, _gyda_ and _tua_ - tho many spoken dialects no longer keep that rule. (c) After the conjunction _a_ "and" - but manu spoken dialects ignore this except in set phrases like _papur a phensil_ (paper & pensil). (d) the negative forms of inflected verbs (preceed in literary Welsh bu _ni_, which is normally omitted in spoken Welsh) (e) after _â_ "as" in the equative and _na_ "than" in the comparative - but many spoken dialects ignore this. (d) After the negative relative pronoun _na_ - spoken dialect do always keep the mutation here, but may drop the _na_ :) (e) After the words _tri_ (masc) [ but not _tair_ (fem)] "three" & _chwe_ (six) - but many dialects ignore this except in the phrases: tri cheiniog = three pence chwe cheiniog = six pence tri chant = 300 chwe chant = 600 [There are also one or two other uses in literary Welsh] I could give the full list for Breton, but time is pressing and I'm tired at the end of the week. But if you wish, I'll mail them next week. Pob hwyl, Ray. ====================== XPICTOC ANECTH ======================