Iosad, Pavel & William Lamb. To appear. Dialect variation in Scottish Gaelic nominal morphology: A quantitative study. Accepted to Glossa: A Journal of General Linguistics.

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Categories:  Papers Scottish Gaelic Dialectology

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(with William Lamb)

This paper presents a dialectometric analysis of Scottish Gaelic morphology, with a focus on the noun phrase, using previously unpublished data from the Linguistic Survey of Scotland. Fifty-five morphological features were extracted across 201 survey points, and the data subjected to a variety of analyses, including cluster analysis, regression, and correlation analysis. We establish that the Gaelic noun system shows robust diatopic (i. e. geographical) variation; this challenges previous assertions in the literature, which describe Gaelic morphosyntax as geographically uniform. In addition, we argue that our dialectometric results provide an insight into the grammatical structure of the language that is not easily achievable through the analysis of individual varieties. In particular, we argue that the results highlight a dissociation between morphological categories such as case and gender and their morphophonological exponents, which are particularly complex in Scottish Gaelic. The paper thus serves as a proof of concept for the use of dialectometric findings in a theoretical context.


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I’m Pavel Iosad, and I’m a Senior Lecturer in the department of Linguistics and English Language at the University of Edinburgh. ¶ You can always go to the start page to learn more.

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