In this paper we investigate category-specific effects through the lens of Welsh mutation. Smith (2011) and Moreton et al. (2017) show that English distinguishes nouns and proper nouns in an experimental blending task. Here we show that Welsh distinguishes nouns, verbs, personal names, and place names in the mutation system. We demonstrate these effects experimentally in a translation task designed to elicit mutation intuitions and in several corpus studies. In addition, we show that these effects correlate with lexical frequency. Deeper statistical analysis and a review of the English data suggests that frequency is a more explanatory factor than part of speech in both languages. We therefore argue that these category-specific effects can be reduced to lexical frequency effects.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number1
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2020


  • Celtic
  • Frequency
  • Morphology
  • Mutation
  • Part-of-speech
  • Welsh

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language


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