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Length and quality in Welsh mid vowels: new evidence from Mid Wales

Rees, Iwan Wyn ORCID: 2018. Length and quality in Welsh mid vowels: new evidence from Mid Wales. Journal of Celtic Linguistics 19 (1) , pp. 157-208. 10.16922/jcl.19.6

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Previous accounts of the vowel systems of Welsh (e.g. G. E. Jones 1984; Ball and Williams 2001; Awbery 2009; Mayr and Davies 2011; Hannahs 2013) have focused mainly, if not exclusively, on differences of length, i.e. distinctions between long and short vowels, thereby assuming that vowel quality is largely determined by vowel length in Welsh. However, the empirical quantitative results presented in this article will show that the situation is far more complex, at least in two distinctive areas of mid Wales where a substantial degree of variation can be seen in the quality of various vowels. Indeed, it will be clear from the discussion that follows that vowel length is only one factor with which vowel quality varies, and that other linguistic factors appear to be equally as important, e.g. the vowel's position within the word (i.e. the syllabic environment), and the phonetic context (e.g. whether the vowel is followed by a single consonant or a cluster in stressed penultimates). It will therefore be argued that previous assumptions that Welsh vowels of the same length behave uniformly across all contexts do not appear to hold, and that the effects of other relevant linguistic factors have been largely overlooked.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Welsh
Publisher: University of Wales Press
ISSN: 0962-1377
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 15 June 2017
Date of Acceptance: 13 June 2017
Last Modified: 06 Nov 2023 23:59

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