Session 52: Ystafell 4
Semanteg a thafodieithoedd: Gwyddeleg a Chymraeg Patagonia / Semantics and dialects: Irish and Patagonian Welsh

Chair: Dewi Evans

Irish pausing: when dialect matters

Marina Shatunova (neé Snesareva)
Moscow State University

Spontaneous speech differs greatly from pre-planned talking. It is usually marked by relatively fast tempo, reduction of sounds, omission of words and extensive pausing. Pauses can be silent (full cessation of phonation) or filled with schwa-like sounds, other repeated sounds and their sequences. Although pausing can be described purely a hesitation phenomenon, in some cases it acquires other functions as well, depending on the speaker’s intention (Snesareva 2013).

Even though there are universal rules regarding the use of pauses, in Irish pausing may be dialect-specific. In Connacht Irish, for example, pauses frequently occur on the prosodic boundary, when preceded by a word with a long final vowel (clár ‘programme’, gasúir ‘children’), whereas Munster Irish speakers use pauses in the same phonetic environment quite rarely, substituting them in a number of cases by the preceding word vowel lengthening. This difference in pause distribution may be connected with the stress pattern the dialects employ.

In this paper pause distribution in Irish dialects is further investigated. The material used includes spontaneous speech samples of different length, produced by native speakers of the dialects. These samples are mainly extracted from Raidió na Gaeltachta podcasts – Iris Aniar for Connacht Irish, An Saol Ó Dheas for Munster Irish, and Barrscéalta for Ulster Irish. This ensures all informants are native Irish speakers from the Gaeltacht area.

Tafodieithoedd Cymraeg y Wladfa heddiw ac effaith Prosiect yr Iaith Gymraeg arnynt
The Patagonian dialects of Welsh today and the influence of the Welsh Language Project

Iwan Wyn Rees
Prifysgol Caerdydd (Cardiff)

Er bod canmlwyddiant a hanner y Wladfa Gymreig ym Mhatagonia wedi derbyn cryn sylw ar y cyfryngau yng Nghymru, a bod rhai astudiaethau sosioieithyddol wedi eu cyflawni yn sgil ‘adfywiad’ y Gymraeg yn Nhalaith Chubut oddi ar y 1990au, mae’n syndod na wnaed unrhyw waith maes sylweddol ar ddatblygiad tafodieithoedd Cymraeg y Wladfa ers dechrau’r 1970au, dros ddeugain mlynedd yn ôl bellach.

Prif amcan y papur hwn felly yw llenwi’r bwlch sylweddol hwnnw drwy daflu goleuni newydd ar ddatblygiadau diweddar yn amrywiadau cyfoes y Wladfa. Gan ddibynnu ar ddata newydd a gasglwyd yn 2018 drwy gyfrwng holiaduron (dros 140 ohonynt) a chyfweliadau un-wrth-un (â thros 30 siaradwr), eir i’r afael â’r cwestiynau canlynol:  

Yr astudiaeth hon felly fydd y gyntaf i ddadansoddi effaith Prosiect yr Iaith Gymraeg ar batrymau ieithyddol sawl carfan o siaradwyr Cymraeg yn y Wladfa. Gan hynny, codir cwestiynau ynghylch natur a dyfodol ‘Cymraeg y Wladfa’.


Although some recent sociolinguistic studies have been inspired by the revitalisation of Welsh in Chubut Province in Argentina since the 1990s, it is still surprising that no detailed analyses of Chubut’s contemporary dialects of Welsh have been conducted since the early 1970s.      

The aim of this paper therefore is to address this lacuna by investigating the variation found today in Patagonia’s varieties of Welsh. Founded on some new linguistic data obtained in 2018 from questionnaires and sociolinguistic interviews, the following research questions will be explored:  

This study will be the first to examine the effects of the Welsh Language Project on the variation and change patterns seen today among Chubut’s Welsh speakers, and consequently, questions relating to the future of ‘Patagonian Welsh’ will be probed.        


The functions of the genitive case in Irish

Eibhlín Ní Fhallamháin
Coláiste na Tríonóide, Baile Átha Cliath

The genitive in Irish very complex paradigmatically and has an apparently dizzying array of functions. The uses of the genitive especially those relating to modification have not been studied in detail. This paper aims to shed some light on the many functions of the genitive and discern patterns or systematicity. This paper takes a functional approach to linguistic analysis. The clause and noun phrase structures of Role and Reference grammar are used, along with a compatible approach to nominal decomposition used in computational linguistics. The Role and Reference Grammar approach to syntax and morphology emphasises the role of semantics. In RRG the structural formal aspects of language can be explained only with reference to semantics and pragmatics. The approach to nominal semantics used in this paper is drawn from the work of computational linguist Pustejovsky. These functional methodologies prove very useful in aiding the interpretation of the functions of the genitive case in Irish and the traditionally defined list of functions was greatly simplified. The genitive case in Irish can be analysed as having three major semantic functions, and these functions are distinguished syntactically. The basic function of the genitive case in Irish is to link a modifying noun to the noun it is modifying. The syntactic construction used to encode attribution/modification is also used to encode quantification, and to encode an event as an attribute of an argument.