The Development of Initial Consonant Mutation in L1 Welsh Adolescents
Cardiff Metropolitan University
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A cross-sectional study was conducted to explore how adolescent production of initial consonant mutation (ICM) in non-gendered context under a formal reading task condition compared to adult production under the same conditions. All types of mutation were studied: aspirate mutation (AM), soft mutation (SM), and nasal mutation (NM), as well as a control stimulus, which does not trigger mutation. Twenty-four participants (12 adolescent, 12 adults) took part in a structured reading task, reading aloud simple sentences that included one noun represented in pictorial form occurring after a mutation-triggering element, or after a control stimuli. Data was then scored and analysed to determine whether adolescents produced ICM similarly to adult production, and whether there were inter-mutation and intra-mutation differences that could be noted. Results suggest that early adolescents between the ages of 11-13 continue to produce initial consonant mutation inconsistently for some AM and SM triggers. However, adolescents appear have acquired a least some nasal mutation triggers to the same level as adults. Results demonstrate that the development of the ICM system in Welsh L1 speakers is protracted and complex. Variability in the application of mutations by adult speakers for certain mutation contexts means that children are hearing inconsistent input models, resulting in failure to fully acquire mutation rules for certain triggers. This reduction in will, over time, result in language change within the ICM system.
B.Sc. (Hons) Speech and Language Therapy
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