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Centres and Peripheries in Celtic Linguistics

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Edited By Maria Bloch-Trojnar and Mark Ó Fionnáin

This book examines various aspects of Celtic linguistics from a general and more specific point of view. Amongst the topics investigated is the system of Irish initial mutations from both a linguistic universal and contrastive perspective. Other contributions analyse and cast new light on deverbal adjectives and assertive and declarative speech acts in Irish, communication and language transmission, change and policy, Breton and Sorbian grammars, as well as other issues of sociolinguistics in Irish, Welsh and Breton.

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Editors’ Preface

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This volume contains a selection of chapters on various aspects of Celtic linguistics, most of which were presented during the Second Lublin Celtic Colloquium which took place at The John Paul II Catholic University of Lublin on 21st–22nd September 2017, but have been generously supplemented by several additions since then. The general theme of the Colloquium was “Centres and Peripheries in Celtic Studies”, and this is reflected in the topics of the chapters in this volume: they cover aspects relating to the Celtic languages in general to more specific aspects of Irish and Breton linguistics and sociolinguistics via historical Breton and Sorbian grammars and modern Welsh-language education.

One of the distinctive traits which sets Celtic languages apart, not just within the Indo-European family but universally, is consonant mutations, whereby word-initial consonants undergo morphosyntactically conditioned phonological changes. This phenomenon has always engendered the interest of phonologists and morphosyntacticians, and despite intense research its complex nature still awaits a comprehensive account. Martin J. Ball and Nicole Müller consider it in the context of linguistic universals, Krzysztof Jaskuła adopts a contrastive perspective, whereas Magdalena Chudak considers its possible effects on a small but important section of the Irish morphological system, i.e. pronouns.

Martin J. Ball and Nicole Müller relate this phenomenon to an ongoing phonological debate concerning general principles of syllable structure in natural languages (such as the Sonority Sequencing Principle and the Sonority Dispersal Principle) and advance a bold claim that the...

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