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date: 05 March 2021

Abstract and Keywords

Welsh and English have been in contact for centuries. This chapter looks at the long-standing influence of the English language upon Welsh and its changing nature. Welsh is interesting for what it tells us about how English has itself changed phonetically over time. Modern Welsh and English, unlike German, share well-developed progressive verbal systems. Linguistic contact was not always unidirectional across the Welsh border. The chapter assesses some patterns of morphological and syntactic change in Welsh emerging in the 1970s as pressure from Anglicization westwards across Wales. Anglicization can be mapped in the distribution of loanwords as recorded in major dialect surveys of the period. Explaining the distribution of English loanwords across Wales, the assignment of grammatical gender to them, and their accommodation into the Welsh morphological system turns out to be unusually complex, not just dependent on how far the border is away from Welsh speakers, but also on how much Welsh is spoken as a first language in that area but also linked to local attitudes toward the Welsh language itself, and the perception of threats to it from the use and spread of English across most social domains at that time. Code-switching and borrowing is closely linked to unstable bilingualism, and attitudes toward Anglicization.

Keywords: Welsh, English, Irish, Latin, Norse, Flemish, industrialization, calque, borrowing

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