Previous studies looking at how listeners attach meaning to the words they hear (lexical access), found that listeners rely more on word beginnings than word ending. But Welsh word beginnings change in various grammatical contexts. For example, a word like te (tea) may change to de, nhe or the. These mutations result in less stable word onsets for Welsh than many other languages. This project aims to investigate whether Welsh-English bilingual listeners rely equally heavily on word beginnings compared to word endings in lexical access, or whether they rely relatively more on word endings compared to speakers who only know English (English monolinguals). Additionally, do Welsh mutation rules influence lexical access in English for Welsh-English bilinguals? For example, Welsh-English bilinguals may access English blackbird as an onset competitor of planet in a masculine context which would trigger a soft mutation (where p becomes b) in Welsh. Results from the project will directly inform current models of lexical access.
Start date:October 2017
Research Topic:The role of mutations in Welsh English bilingual lexical access
Research Supervisor:Dr Sarah Cooper and Dr Manon Jones
Supervising school:School of Linguistics & English Language, Bangor University
Primary funding source:ESRC Studentship