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British Celtic Influence on English Phonology

This dissertation assesses the influence of British Celtic on the phonological development of English during and shortly after the Anglo-Saxon settlement period, ca. AD 450-700.

Stephen Laker
23 September 2010
Full text in Leiden University Repository

By reconstructing and then comparing the phonological systems of both British Celtic and English at the time of contact, an independent assessment of the differences and similarities between the sound systems of the two languages is achieved. On this basis, the segments which were most likely to have been susceptible to change in a situation of language contact and language shift are identified.

Evidence for change in English resulting from British Celtic influence is then sought in the medieval textual records. Numerous possible examples of phonological and phonetic change resulting from contact are identified in especially northern English dialects. These findings are interpreted in the context of other on-going research from linguistics and other disciplines.

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