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From:Christopher Bates <christopher.bates@...>
Date:Monday, June 24, 2002, 12:33
I was wondering... anyone know of a good reason why welsh lenition
patterns are as they are? I like to think that language evolve like they
do for a reason. Generally the patterns seems to be..

unvoiced stop -> voiced stop -> voiced fricative

p -> b -> v
t -> d -> th (voiced)
k -> g -> nothing (welsh doesn't seem to have a fricative in the right
place for the pattern to be used)

voiced nasal -> voiced fricative

m -> v

unvoiced Approximant to voiced approximant

ll -> l
rh -> r

etc. I've taken the liberty of using english's way of representing
sounds for this... welsh uses dd for voiced th, c for k, f for v... but
I don't see quite why the patterns are as they are. This is called
"soft" lenition but it doesn't really seem to be softening the sounds...
voicing a stop makes it sound harder in my opinion... but changing a
voiced stop to a fricative makes it softer... so it seems to be softer
-> harder -> softer. I can't think of any reason to have the pattern
this way round... I would have thought

voiced stop -> unvoiced stop -> unvoiced fricative
unvoiced fricative -> unvoiced stop -> voiced stop

or something like that would have made more sense. Maybe I'm missing the
obvious... can someone tell me why they think welsh adopted the system
it did?

Chris B.


Christophe Grandsire <christophe.grandsire@...>
JS Bangs <jaspax@...>